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Building a Better Portfolio & Attracting the Right Clients

Lesson 14 from: Master the Business of Photography

Sal Cincotta

Building a Better Portfolio & Attracting the Right Clients

Lesson 14 from: Master the Business of Photography

Sal Cincotta

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Lesson Info

14. Building a Better Portfolio & Attracting the Right Clients


Class Trailer

Day 1


Class Introduction


The Agenda


Why You Will Fail


The Changing World We Live In


Biggest Competitors For Weddings and Portraits


Day 2


Defining, Understanding, and Connecting to Your Clients


Day 3


Legal Issues


Day 4


Shoot and Share vs Shoot and Sell


Day 5


Pricing Your Work Part 1


Day 6


Pricing Your Work Part 2


Day 7


The New World of SEO


Day 8


Social Media - Facebook


Day 9


Social Media - Instagram & Pinterest


Day 10


Building a Better Portfolio & Attracting the Right Clients


Day 11


Proactively Developing Vendor Relationships


Day 12


Get More Publicity


Day 13


Booking More Portrait Sessions


Day 14


Booking More Weddings


Day 15


Understanding the Initial Sales Consultation (In-person vs Skype)


Day 16


The Engagement Shoot - Shoot To Make Money.


Day 17


Engagement Pricing and Sales


Day 18


Destination Shoots


Day 19


Working With & Training Second Shooters


Day 20


Growing An Alternate Brand


Day 21


The Wedding Day Timeline


Day 22


Managing The Wedding Day


Day 23


Post Wedding Sales and Pricing


Day 24


Post Production - A Real World Workflow


Day 25


Wedding Albums - Their Importance, New trends & Selling Them


Day 26


Ways Not To Suck At Customer Service


Day 27


Video - The Future of Story Telling for the Photographer


Day 28


Packaging & Final Delivery To Your Clients


Day 29


Lessons Learned - Where I Have Failed Over The Last 8 Years


Day 30


The Journey Of You


The Journey Of You: 30 Day Plan


The Journey Of You: 60 Day Plan


The Journey Of You: 90 Day Plan


Student Examples


Interview with Warren McCormack


Interview with Lenny and Melissa Volturo


General Q&A


Lesson Info

Building a Better Portfolio & Attracting the Right Clients

We're going to talk about building ah better portfolio which I think is really really important as you grow as an artist it's something that I I'm so worried about in my career aside continue to grow and evolve and how do we get a better portfolio and I'm in business I think I'm a good photographer I'm established but even if you're just starting out how do you build a better portfolio a stronger portfolio and those kind of things I want I want to talk about today so we talk about portfolios we want to talk about the client your style right who this clue the client is is kind of important if you think about it when it comes to your portfolio we keep coming back to this concept of the client but now it's more important than ever as we talk about your portfolio your style what to show on your website so last night I went to a couple of your websites and uh no one's ever gonna want to be in the studio audience again they're gonna be all picks on everybody but I went out there to just kind...

of get a sense of you know what you were doing your style and if it was consistent if it made sense and so what we'll talk about that and show the results also here's the next biggest challenge as we talk to you talk to the audience what is how do we get to where I want to be, right? Some of you might agree like, yeah, I'm too traditional, but it's, what my clients want, I want to be a little more edgy. I've never had anyone say I'm too edgy, I want to be more traditional that rarely comes up right it's, usually the other way. But how do you get there? Tread the path isn't always easy to least see you just need a road map on how you get from kind of point a to point b it doesn't matter if we're doing seniors went right seniors, high school seniors are an absolute incredible market right now. I mean, it's, it's, borderline like super traditional people are still holding on to a tree, right? I don't know when that was ever a good picture, but it's still out there on and it goes all the way to where you're just making these kids look like straight up like, I I can't even process what I see sometimes when I'm looking at senior portrait eso you've got to find your your range of where you want to be, and ultimately all that matters is that people want to pay money for right, you'll find your client, but you can't advertise yourself is this ride high fashion? Photographer and then you got no high school seniors holding onto a curtain s o it just doesn't make any sense. You've got to figure out where you want to be and then just reinventing yourself, but this year for me was a year of reinvention, so I spent a big part probably six months of twenty fourteen finding my rhythm, reinventing what I was doing because as I looked around my local market, I felt like all my competitors were doing the exact same thing that I was doing and so that's never a good thing because of my work doesn't stand out from the rest and it's fun, we're an artist, I'm an artist, so I want to I want to try new things I want to get reinvigorated I want to love my job every day I don't want to just go out and just die click don nailed it let's go! I want there to be that experience and I still want to have that passion for what we do it's okay, let's, dive into the client. This this pesky thing that keeps popping up in our conversations, you know, want one of the first segments was about the client, the client, the client who is my client, where they shopping, what are they doing? Well, this comes full circle when you start thinking about your actual portfolio? I mean the client what could be more important than the client when we're talking about our work and our shooting style, nothing could be more important because your client is being drawn in to your work. So if your client, if you say your client, is that trendy, fashionable person, does your does your imagery represent that? Is that going to draw them in or when they go to your site? Are they going to see something that's super traditional, something they can't relate to, something that doesn't look like the very magazine ads, right, that they're picking up on that newsstand? If those two things are don't jive, then you're going to run into you're gonna run into a problem there, right? So there's a complete disconnect, and so the other thing to consider is who your client is today is not necessarily who your client will be tomorrow. Many of you sitting right here and at home are kind of in that segway. Maybe you're just starting up and again, the only way I know how to share so my own my own lessons learned we started out if I go back to two thousand seven, two thousand eight in that time frame had no idea who my client was I literally had no idea there was no one coaching me, no one guiding me and so my client was anybody who wanted to get in front of the camera that was my client you want pictures I take pictures you're my client and I learned after a few years of that that that wasn't it and I'm I cringe today I don't know if you guys have uh pictures that you took you know when you first started out oh man, it was really bad uh you know, I go and look at it I don't know why but I just felt like the need to tilt everything there was the tilt everything was tilted I think when you're it's kind of like when you're growing as a retired for you're just like yeah tilted it's aren't on you know? So I was doing a lot of that was just to the point where it was so tilted it just might well have been a horizontal picture, right? I mean, it was just really bad uh so I always go back and I looked at some of that work and no, I don't have it I'm not going to show it here, but I always go back and look at that work just to kind of see where I've come from on who I was attracting as a client back then to where to where I am today and so I highly encourage you to do that too I just might give you some perspective and so when we come back to who your client is, we've got to ask ourselves what imagery is moving them and yes, for a few days ago or a few seconds ago I should say I spoke about magazines and how I take pictures of magazines for inspiration, right? So I'll go to a starbucks we'll do stuff like that and we'll look through commercial ad so I'm really inspired today by more commercial work mohr cinematography and so I looked to hollywood in films for more inspiration than I do other photographers you know, in the wedding industry I should say that's not where I'm looking for inspiration and so you've got to figure out where you looking for inspiration? That doesn't mean you you see on an article for gucci and you say ok, I want that shot I'm gonna do that exact lighting just looking for that inspiration but here's the trick of it all you've got to realize first of all, what magazines are your clients reading? What magazines are they opening? What magazines there? Are they looking at what ads are they looking at being moved by now? As you look at those ads, you have to figure out a way to translate that to the bride to the high school senior to a family portrait right? Because the average the average bride commercial work and be really weird sometimes, right? I mean if you ever looked at some commercial ads, especially for clothing or bags, I mean it's it's, weird stuff sometimes it doesn't even make sense. I don't think my client will put that on the wall. It's a point of inspiration. Look at that stuff and then go. How can I translate this to my current client base? That's what I do, um, if you still don't know what's moving your client, how can you alter your style? So if we sit here and we talk today about okay, here's who? My client is it's that young, trendy twenty something off it's, a high school senior it's, that seventeen year old whose popular in school? But if you don't really know everything about them, how you gonna transfer that's? How you're gonna translate that style? How you gonna make that transition? Your gold once again, you're just shooting blind. You've got to understand where you're going. The gps has to be there. Where do you want to be from? A style perspective is going to come more important as we go through this segment to understand here's where I want to be. Where do you want to be? Pick five images. You know, after after this segment, after this course, you guys out there, you get a workbook with the course. So you should be digging into that workbook taking these notes and writing down your plan of attack your thirty, sixty, ninety day and I would make the argument that is part of your kind of sixty day plan is to sit maybe even your thirty day plan is to sit down and pick five to ten inspirational pieces that you want to start transitioning to justin exercises creative exercise go through that and that's going to help you on your next shoot that doesn't mean and we'll talk about the transition plan that that seems mean when you go out there tomorrow in your next job uh that you're going to immediately start shooting these crazy shots right that are completely different than what you're doing today that's not what I'm suggesting but we need that road map that path and ultimately today's client declined you have today the client it's calling you right now is being is calling you why problem to pick on why do you think they're calling you without a doubt? I mean they're obviously moved by my photography but but the majority of my clients have had an opportunity to see products so but that's when they book you yeah they're not seeing the products on your website no that's true so they're they're moved by them or artistic images the bigger stuff not the you know definitely not the traditional image is all right good perfect actually what tell me why you didn't think you're screwed, so why do you think what's wrong clients into, in your opinion, if you step back and think about your business, why do you believe clients are calling? Um, I I don't even know I because they mostly because they know me, I'm still kind of first circle, but but interesting kind of played off. Rob said I had actually run in a facebook ad with several different images, like we talked about in one of the last segments, and I used a couple different images, some basic and one that's not really my normal style, a family in front of a big graffiti wall, bright colors, and that was the one that got the biggest response. There you go. So it's it's definitely those images that are pulling people in its when I it's when I'm posting that big, more dramatic family picture that people are like, yeah, I want that you couldn't have given me a better answer if I paid you for the answer. That's perfect, right? Ultimately, that's what I'm looking for a zone answer. So at the end of the day, this is that what you've gotta process if she just kept posting she's talking about running facebook ads for families if she just kept posting the same lame ass family pictures why top khaki pants everybody standing there everybody holding hands let's go with the family in the field at sunset I've never seen that before if we keep doing that why would somebody click? Why would somebody be drawn in? They will be drawn in but the person who's going to be drawn in to you is that person just looking for the same old thing and that's fine if that's your client and you said my client is twenty something year old looking for the same old thing you're spot on your right on track but if you say that my client is somebody who appreciates photography appreciates fine art and wants something different that's not going to cut it so how do you get to that point? We gotta understand who our client is and where we're going with it and so that little experimentation you're doing is brilliant right? But you're seeing what's working and so you've got to take that q and run with it right? So there should be if I go to your website no traditional work on there you're smiling that's never good it should be no traditional work there because you're going to draw in those clients there should be work that is a drawing the client of the future always the client you have today that's on your website today the client of the future I would make the argument for most of you it's not okay, the client that you're drawing today most of your complaining ah, they're cheap. They want everything for free. They don't. They don't appreciate photography part of that's your fault you're putting out the advertising messaging. You're the one attracting that client. Okay, I'm just going to keep saying the same thing for the entire course. It's, how do we get to the client? We have to understand their behaviour and your part of the problem. We all are right when I say you I don't mean to point fingers all of us as marketers are part of the problem. Usually when we're getting the wrong clients it's because of disconnected marketing efforts, right? We're not marketing to the right clients and so that is there couldn't have been a more perfect thing. You said toto let's dive into actual style when we talk about style of photography. Do you even know what your style is? This is this is gonna be interesting, right? Ok, what would you say? Everyone's fair game today? By the way, what would you say? Your stylist? I would say I'm having an identity crisis and I'm flip flopping all over the place there enough? I love the honesty day there could have been anything better my name's gabe and I have an identity crisis that is awesome, right? I call it schizophrenia when I look at some people's work. Right? It's like, what were you thinking here? What were you thinking here? These two things don't even look the same on dh. So it's really, really interesting. Michael, what? What's your what would you say you're? Ah, you're your style is I'm actually kind of just what you said in a transitional period where I'm just starting to figure out exactly where I want to take my photography. So I'm really pushing into a more artistic style and going into something a little bit more dramatic versus the old traditional stuff that I was doing. What what is artistic to you? What do you think? That's where you were? You were artistic no that's where I'm heading, so so before is very straightforward here's a normal pot's, not a lot of post and now it's more about trying to create what I want in my imagery versus just here's the picture that, you know, when I shoot the image, what I wanted to look like when I'm done and that's, why I'm starting to go now, I love it. I love what you're saying that and that's very much my style, right? So the way the way I would kind of paraphrase what you're saying there's a lot of photographers out there, especially when you're starting out, you don't really have a style, you just kind of you just kind of lose your you're a natural light photographer, which to me is translation for you don't know how to use flash, you're a you're very clean, uh editing clean styling, which is there's nothing wrong with, by the way, you see a lot of imagery now taking on this very clean, neutral look and feel, you know, almost like less contrast e I don't know if you're seeing that righteous is kind of muted colors, you're seeing it everywhere, it's not just it's, not just from us it's from advertisers, you're seeing it literally everywhere, okay? And then there's just, you know, that's, not necessarily my style, there's nothing wrong with it, but I love what you're saying you're trying to move into this very more aggressive and using the tools that are there for you. So this is an interesting concept when you talk about style, especially my perspective when it comes to photography is I want to use all the tools that are available for me that is going to be from my posing techniques, my location, my camera, my lighting photo shop body shop is part of the equation I don't quite understand purists or whatever you want to call yourselves googly photo shop is not part of the equation that's actually preposterous I mean there's techniques where people would do skin softening back in the film right? Just by using a vibrating table during exposure like these are the kind of things that they would actually do get skin softening off negatives and so at the end of the day photo shop is here to stay I don't and my clients know it's here to stay it's part of the equation I can't imagine telling picasso or a rembrandt no no, no. You can only use one kind of ink you can only use one kind of canvas uh you want to use the tools that are available to you today to be a complete artist now how much photoshopping used how much off camera like use how heavy handed you are imposing that's the art of it all that's the beauty so you got to figure out where you going so it's perfect answer and so ultimately at the end of the day there has to be a level of consistency with it all okay? You know it's like you said, you're like I got an identity crisis right now if I go to your website I should be able to see that consistency from shot to shot to shot now I'm not saying every single image has to be identical that's not what I'm proposing it all but there has to be some level of continuity if I took your portfolio and laid it all out whether it's an editing style whether it's posing expression location style there has to be something that brings this altogether or I start feeling like when I'm on your website I'm just looking at a bunch of snapshots that's problematic right if your client goes out there now by the way your client's not gonna be able to articulate this your client is never going to say that looks like a snap shot but they don't know how to articulate those things they just know what they feel when they're looking at your imagery um and as far as I'm concerned posing lighting, editing but don't leave it out branding it's all tied together your imagery is your brand I hope everybody understands that you can't have this kind of warm winds whimsical logo and coloring and branding and then I get to your imagery and it's like this hdr right sun flares everywhere like that those two things don't don't connect you're sending the wrong message in your branding house to be tied to it all and because of that I've intentionally kept my branding neutral so salvador cinque otto the brain the logo israel simple just white it's black we're not really doing a whole lot with the logo you go to my website it's real simple she's black we let the images speak for themselves now if you start picking color palettes with your logo and your website and everything like that you've already made a brand decision no and now your clients expect that imagery to match that brand decision everybody with me on that it becomes really important as you start looking at your web sites you have to realize this all has to work together teo communicate the right messaging you can't you can't be on opposite ends and so spirit of that I'm cured I want to ask you a couple more people john then what's your style still I really work on finding them their post training for their personality in this town that the end of doing I also make the whole fact be fun so the whole experience is going to be an energized experience for them not just line them up. I love that that's perfect, but what's the style like how would you describe the style of your foot rv or your photo journalist? Are you natural light? Start taking me through those what you're suggesting to me is you're all about the experience love it that's what you should be about we all want to give our clients in experience, but if we start talking about the style of your imagery, what would you how would you turn that this is important in terms of the location I would say eighty percent of it is obligation it's available light it's bending light it's working with posing in order to help them, you know, enhance their looking but here's an exercise I want you two to go through. I want you and I want you to come through and really figure out do you want to be edgy? Do you want to be open airy do you want to? If you look at photographers from the west coast, right, they all have this kind of warm toned image backlit image, sunset image you see a lot of that if you start looking at imagery that comes off the east coast now, mind you, I'm not making I'm making very broad statement right now I'm sure there's people who fall in each camp if you look at the images coming off like the east coast a little more edgier ah, little more contrast here, a little more moodier in that sense, right? Why is that these air style? These are different styles. So what would what that's, where I want you two to start thinking like where's your start winning, um I'd like teo also address a part of that is what happens when you have two photographers in the studio that have differing styles because I believe that where we're headed yeah wendy that's actually a brilliant question you believe that's where the two of you are heading yes yeah that actually becomes extremely problematic that's not good news for the both of you so it sounds like there's going to be ah wendy's portrait spoon turning off here pretty soon so it becomes problematic because the brand whatever the messaging the brand is putting out the photography coming out of it has to has to match up to that and so if the two of you aren't in sync in that that that that poses some some challenges to say the least not say that you can't find your way and let's step back and look at my studio myself and tail or shoot to a certain extent very differently and we get to the shot completely differently you know when I'm on a wedding day I am heavily engaged I'm talking to people I'm grabbing people I'm grabbing my bride's leg and like no hear enough time to wait for you to figure it out right and you know how it is when you talk to client sometimes and you like take your left hand put it on your hip and they're like they do stuff like this right left right? You never set the declines to that so you could start seeing their brains freeze when you start talking to them right? So I'm very much going to get in here and move and do what I want to do. Taylor is not like that at all. Taylor is much more softer in her delivery, but ultimately okay, she leans more towards being more of a photojournalist, right? She's not true photo journalist but she just lets whatever happened happened whereas I'm or going to control everything and certain clients love that that I'm so hands on in certain clients love her and we can talk about how we determine who's goingto be the right fit for them. But in the spirit of that the editing is all the same coming out of our studio that's actually really important thie ultimate big shots are the same we have to have those tight middle wide shots coming out what her type metal wide shots look like or a little bit different in mind where only internally we can tell so internally in the studio we can tell the difference immediately that's a tailor shop that's a south shot my editor's comptel. But externally clients can so that's where we need to get you externally, there can be no difference in what's coming out of the studio. So is there a difference in just yes or no? But is there a difference in your editing styles and preference? Yes, yeah, that's problematic that's where those are the things uh that we got to get in sync on we'll talk more offline about that but know that as you walk away from here and for anybody out there who's a husband and wife team or even you have a partnership going make sure that your urine sink on what is coming out of the studio I think about court thing about corporations like starbucks there's no variation from store to store right? Maybe a better example would be anheuser busch so anheuser busch's in st louis right beer beer company budweiser beer and the brewmasters the guys who make the beer okay, each of them has their own recipe if you can believe it right the brewmasters air known for doing certain things right so let's say there's five brewmasters they're only allowed a certain level of variants and what they're doing so one day I may want to cook things at two hundred twelve degrees another guy may want to cook things at one hundred and ninety nine and there's a certain variance they're allowed in how long one may want to cook it for thirty minutes. One may say note my recipes twenty seven minutes that's where you two got to get what's the variance that you're willing to allow out of the brand does that make sense and you got to find a way to get to get closer so here's how I would describe my style this is what I was asking you guys for so some of you were getting there with it but you weren't really fully there, I would say we're edgy for me I'm edgy, dynamic romantic dramatic so if you look at my pictures they're very dramatic but they're very architecturally and landscaped inspired so I'm not talking about like when you're taking a portrait of portrait portrait right? That's what you're doing I'm talking about where these big shots, your signature shots, the shots that are defining your brand, the shots that should be in your portfolio, the shots that should be at your bridal show that you're putting out vendor vendor locations those are the ones that I'm talking about mine are architecturally and landscape inspired and that started because when I started photography okay, I was until landscape in architecture I shot my first wedding at about seventeen years old my aunt had a darkroom in the basement I hated weddings absolutely hated weddings want nothing to do with it. They were too traditional to posey posey, right? Every all it was about wedding photography was those horrible albums with the gold clips on the side that you would open up pictures would slide in and everybody was just there was like twenty groupings of people just standing here like this right just wasn't exciting to me it's not what I wanted to do right so I got until landscape and travel photography, and I did that for years and years and years, but you're not going to make money doing that, right? So if you're landscape travel photographer, you're probably broke. Your house looks beautiful. You got pictures all upon the wall, which is fine. But how do you make money? While I figured out the way you make money as you take that same landscape shot, you just drop a little bride and groom in there. And the minute you dropped that, brian grooming their boom, somebody wants to buy it. There you go, that's my style in a nutshell. So, there's, nothing magical about it. Now, when you look at my work in my portfolio, you go. That makes sense. I see what he's seen and so that's how I'm able to see visually very quickly. I can walk into a scene or location and I see leading lines. All right, I see the power of the shot and I see exactly where I want to put my client. So I don't need a whole lot of time. That's where I said, me and taylor getting to the shot. A completely different experience taylor before wedding if she has to go to a new city she's in panic mode. Because she doesn't know any location she has no idea where to go what to shoot what's gonna look good what's not so she'll actually do re con she loves to get to a place the day before and she'll do re kon she'll actually go during the time that she's going to be there so if she's shooting a two o'clock she's very diligent she's going to show up at two o'clock and she's going she's going to be like okay the sun's here this is there but she wants to feel very confident I am the complete opposite I'm like I don't have time for that shit right? I just need what when's the wedding great I'll be there I'll see you there where we going don't know let's drive around s o what happens for me is somebody liking elissa will go ok there's a really cool building here and there's a really cool set of downtown area here great that's all I need to know now we roll up and I'm like I just walk around and look around boom let's go and then I do my thing that's me that's how I work okay everybody works a little bit differently but the end result from our studio salvador some kind of talk fees typically the scene and that's where you got that's what you've got to figure out especially if you're working with a partner and so what to show this is where we're going to take a look at some of your website because it's, this is really, really problematic and not just for you guys here it's problematic for every photographer I've ever run into, you know, within about ninety percent, they get very, very confused on what to show when it's funny to me because I've talked about this whether it's in shutter magazine, whether it's on creative live, I've talked about it over and over and over again, and yet it seems like no one's listening, so we're gonna we're gonna talk about it again. What? When it comes to style and connecting your clients, you have to show the right imagery. You have to show the imagery that is resonating with your client, not the imagery you think looks good. I understand the difference what your taste is might not necessarily be with the client is, but it comes back to knowing what who is your client if you don't know what your client is, this is a very difficult conversation to have, and so we've got to get closer and closer to really profiling who that is hasta match has to be consistent, this is the other challenge I'm seeing. I'm not even gonna debate with you whether an image is good, I'm not doing I'm not looking to do a portfolio review everybody's in a different place in their career my job is not to stand here and be like, oh, that picture sucks if you ask me I'll give you an honest opinion that's that's not the spirit of who I am I want you guys to grow as business people as artists where I am going to challenge you is their consistency and what you're putting up there that's the challenge, right? Not not how good or bad or I would never put this image or you know, you know all that that's a horrible image no that don't even help your fellow photographer that way that's not really helping them instead look at it from a consistency perspective when I go to your website and my scene consistency that's the most important thing because that consistency right to your point game uh if you're not consistent with who you are and your identity how does your client have the house? Your client gonna know who you are? Are you traditional? I'm not traditional, so if you go look at my wedding's portfolio, you will not see pictures of shoes you will not see pictures of of the church altar pictures, people just standing there, you will not see photo journalistic shots there it's not who I am it's not my style it's not the person I want to attract you won't even see family pictures there because that's not the person I want to attract and so on lee, put up your best work your best ten images um s c p is about big dramatic portrait right? We've already talked about that it's about wall art I'm setting them up for wall art the minute they get to my side I written you'll maybe eighty five to ninety percent of what's in my wedding portfolio is going to be big dramatic. There might be a tight headshot or two maybe a candid shot or two but predominantly the big dramatic shots that's the person I want calling me up on the phone in fact it's really funny because when they come into the studio and they meet with us eight nine out of ten times the last me the same question now do you take those traditional pictures at the altar? I get asked that question all the time and I just laugh because they look at my portfolio and they think man, all this guy does is take these big open field big church pictures no way we do all the traditional stuff and then I say to them, this is what I expect you to put on your wall after your wedding that one shot that defines your day every wedding. I want to get that one shot that defines your day. That should be all your missions to find the day in a single shot. You think you think about how hard that is? Days filled siri's of moments throughout the day. There's that moment of getting ready. There's that first kiss. But I'm asking you tell the story of their day in one shot through your eyes on my eyes they're your eyes tell the story of their day in one single shot that's the challenge I walk away with from every wedding. I even take it a step further. I I'm very competitive. I love being print competitions if you have not been part of a print competition, I highly encourage you to do it so w p p I s spring competition shutter fest has putting competitions p p a has print competitions and so what it's all about is comparing your work to your peers. Can you be the best of the best? And so I'm all about that I want to come up with one print comp worthy shot out of everybody that's my personal challenge. An interesting challenge, right, it forces you to pay attention every single detail. In fact, I walk into a wedding to keep myself on edge all the time we'll walk in and elissa can attest to this I walk into a room or into ah day I should say on the way in and I go today all about reflections, late night, personal challenge. So everywhere we go, we're looking for reflections the minute way walk into a scene so we walk into a room. There was one time we did the davis about reflections we walk in, they had a glass, they were in a suite, but they had a glass dining room table in the suite. So I took all the guys around the table. I had my groom at the end of the table, and I'm just shooting down the table. All you see is there everyone's reflection in the table right to the groom was my challenge for the day, right? Then another one might be geometric shapes. So today and, you know, so we'll go into another wedding and I'll say, okay, today's all about geometry. We start looking for shapes. It forces you and as an artist to start thinking a little bit differently, right? Notice that has nothing to do with my style. Well, I'm gonna edit the women, oppose women, do all that stuff it is the same but now you start looking at things differently I'm looking for triangles and looking for squares I'm looking for right this is what makes retired was so much fun that's the challenge you should put on yourself and then ultimately if you could get a a print work comp where the image you're just building your portfolio, your building, your reputation and your becoming a stronger and stronger photographer this makes sense all right what I want to see is five to ten images on your website that drama so the first five to ten I see should sell me on who you are you've got to tell me who you are in five to ten images I went to about five of your web sites last night and I just got annoyed uh sorry to pick on you but you weren't telling me who you were in five to ten images was all over the place and so that's gotta change immediately who are you in five to ten images if you can't tell me who you are as an artist and five to ten images I'll put my money where my mouth is good my website but at dot com or salvador cicada dot com that's not even my website sallis and kata dot com goto my wedding portfolio and I guarantee you five to ten images you can quickly see what my style is good, better and different you'll see what my style is that's what I need to see how you and I didn't see many of you there it at this point when I was looking last night that's the part that has to change who are you? So I'm gonna pick on a few of you sorry, jonathan. Wendy, you're up first. This is the first image in your wedding portfolio. I like it says fun, says whimsical. Um, I was like, this is gonna be good. I want to see what comes up next in your portfolio, but some things don't go you see the disconnect between that and that I'm not judging your work, I'm not judging your lighting, I'm not judging your posing, I'm not judging anything, I'm just telling you as your coach as your mentor thes two things don't match that's all I'm telling you this has nothing to do even if you're home watching and you're like two hands so how's picking, you know, he's beating them up, I want you to be successful. I want when people come to your website, they go because when I saw this come up, I was like, this is good. I was actually I was proud of you when I said when I saw stuff like this and like this is open, airy, colorful ben that's got to come down when you leave here today I want that down immediately and I want all of you because all of you go to your website and do the same thing five to ten images tell me who you are. This is where I get so seniors, right? This is where I get I'm gonna give you props consistent, consistent, consistent, consistent so there's two pages here I felt like as I was looking at your work very, very consistent in what you're putting out there, I'm not judging you work, I'm not judging the editing I'm not judging the posing my judging any of that I just want to know that when I come to your website that I can see and get a sense of who you are and what your stylist that's the most important part, you guys got to get it through your head. Your client is never going to come to your website. I mean, ninety nine point nine percent of clients are never going to go to your website and be like, oh, my god, I cannot believe she put her in a white shirt on a blue wall no one's ever going to do that it's never gonna happen oh, my god, look how much magenta is in this picture on the right no one's ever going to it's never going to happen that is the neurotic nature of the photographer were the ones who do that so what I try to do for you is I just try to put myself in my client's perspective are there things we can do here is as a portfolio reviews and portfolio critique of course we can all that we can all do that you guys could do that to me you could be like hey why's her hair not over here right? But look at the way you have her arm it makes her arm look heavy sure great that's that's fun that's not gonna help you get better as a business person and so this was very good I do want to give you some negative uh feedback it's too consistent in that crazy you like so why you telling me this it should be I feel like I'm looking at all your work it's too it's becoming too much the same right? So what I want to do is see you expand your posing expand try something different right? And we're going to talk about that when we talk about expanding our portfolio we're talking about like trump just trying something a little bit different so eighty five percent eighty percent of what you do every day, every shoot the same because your clients are coming here they're seeing this and they're falling in love with certain pictures right? Like something like that I loved the edit I love where you're going I love the soft hands great now I go I want that so I see that for my daughter right that's what I want but how do you get them to want something edgier? And so if you wanted to move to something edgier, maybe you're happy if you're completely happy with what you don't stay there, don't move what I'm telling you is if you want something a little more like like this to me his lifestyle yeah there's a little more lifestyle this to me is not necessarily lifestyle this becomes a lot more lifestyle that more lifestyle so where do you want to go and wherever you want to go start mixing that in to what you're doing and start dropping those in here is a what kind of photographer are you? Tell me, tell me your style um warm and friendly warning crime everyone like um I mostly family photographer and I I gear my things toward warm and golden, but I went I went to your photography section your wedding section right and so warm and friendly is not how I would describe a style would you say you are? I would consider you so I need to know if I'm wrong because I'm looking at your portfolio I would say your photojournalist do you consider yourself a photojournalist that's my background but that's not what I mean that's not what I typically shoot from a family's yeah I'm not talking families and talking weddings so from what deep breath I don't know I mean I don't um weddings or not my that's not my main thing so but let's talk about the team on that you know let's come backto okay weddings from the wedding perspective do you consider yourself a photojournalist? I haven't in the past okay that's that's a good that's a good answer not the right answer I'm looking for but it's good here's why? Because it works again it works out perfect like I've paid you for this in this conversation as I go to your website my children you working not judging your editing style I'm not judging any of that is I go to your website I get one message photojournalism that's what I'm seeing here if I look at your let's go through this one two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight nine, ten great I'll throw in the eleventh picture so this is what's in your wedding portfolio eleven pictures the first eleven all scream photojournalism there's nothing wrong with that what's wrong with it is you're telling me you don't consider yourself a photojournalist that's the part that would have to get in sync right? So if you consider yourself a photojournalist that's great but the fact that you don't weigh have to have a conversation later on how to figure out how we change this so how I know you're saying you don't do a whole lot of ways but from a wedding perspective what do you where do you want to be how do you see yourself forget this for a second block it's you don't even know if I said ideal world what kind of how would you want your style to be defined how would it be for weddings I mean I suppose it would be photo journalistic okay you know I mean family's photo journalistic um I mean they can be but that's not what I am strong at okay you're more strong at what? Controlling the shot controlling it yeah I'm imposed and controlled setups perfect perfect I'll stop picking on me so it's all in love right? You know that yeah okay so in the spirit of that if you want to control the shot which by the way I do I'm a horrible photo journalist I'm not very good tailor has already said she will never have any second chute for her again because I'm a horrible second shooter right taylor's shooting and I'm standing next to him like rooms and fix his hair fix this she's like get away from me like she is ready to murder me when I'm second shooting for because I'm so controlling over the shot if you're telling me that you want to be that controlling photographer, don't be afraid to do that here, right? Control it, but the problem is, is if you're going to move into possibly doing more weddings, right? Justo add to the bottom line, so to speak you've got to get control of this style. So in your first ten images, you're showing me a progression of their day. I see the groom getting ready I seen I shouted the dress, I see their first look all that's great, but it's all photojournalism, and so you've got to ask yourself, because all you're going to do is attract more of that. This is the entire point of this exercise that I'm taking you guys through his this is all going to attract the wrong client. There is a disconnect right here you're a perfect case study right now, um, between what you want to be and what you're showing to the world and you are not alone, eighty to ninety percent of the photographers out there suffer from this, right? This is just schizophrenia. Who am I? I have no idea we got multiple personalities going on here, so what I want to see you do is work on and make part of the plan is going ok if I do want to go more after weddings they're predictable they're they're gonna add to the bottom line I can book ten in a year and I could know what my years going to look like it's totally different than portrait let's get in sync with where you want to be and where you are now it's fair enough um how many jumping the transitioning questions from any questions from you guys on what I'm saying what I'm picking up here justices extension between that conversation is there kind of photographer have two different styles into different areas uh a safari like she's saying from families and from weddings yeah I mean is it is that just confusing the clients or is it I think it's confusing the clients but that's my personal opinion I think as your as you my family portrait match my wedding portrait because I find that if I'm photographing a wedding or a high school senior that high school senior let's start there a photograph of high school senior that high school senior will typically lead into a family portrait session I shoot the younger daughter the older daughter I didn't photograph she wasn't here when I was a photographer she comes back from college now I've got a family portrait that family expects from me the same delivery ble that I did within the niche that I did for the senior that family or that wedding I should say that now has a newborn they don't want those typical newborn pictures they want something that's out there something that's a little edgier even a little more dramatic big architectural with a little baby I mean so I think personally it becomes confusing and I don't maybe I'm just not good enough I can't wear those those hats I see the world I think it's photographers and artists we have a way of seeing the world that's the gift we have right it's not the camera it's not adjusting aperture in it so that's not the gift the gift is the way we see that's the part no one can ever take from us all of us in this room see the world completely differently there's no right or wrong way to see it that's what makes it art so in the spirit of that I don't know that I can see the world differently for from our wedding to a senior to a baby's that make sense yeah jonathan so what I'm hearing you say and maybe I'm maybe I'm not getting it complete if you do different categories are you suggested that we try to hone in on one or two and then let the other just happen to through asked moses come to us when you say category you referring mohr toe like maybe weddings detail oh I see family children, pets you know the other genres uh well okay that's a great question so here's my mindset what is your core business right is it weddings? Core businesses family okay, so if your core business his family you should be optimizing your website around family everything there should be family weddings will trickle in from that pets will trickle in from that but from a new perspective right when we talked about the segment you're not going to be able to optimize your sight for families, pets everything you can't do it so pick your focus area whatever that is and make sure your site is screaming we new families everything around it and anything else you're going to do or post make sure you're posting a style like for me when I post baby pictures I try to make sure that the picture is getting posted match as close as they can to my wedding style to my senior style does that make sense so that's where I would go with that good all right so let's talk about actually transitioning your portfolio how do you do it once you know where you want to be hopefully have atleast gotten in your head a little bit to go okay I want to change I want it I want to get to this new place there's these new shots have wanted to try I'm tired of doing the traditional stuff if you go out to a photo shoot weddings seniors, families, babies doesn't matter if you go out to a photo shoot and you're uninspired how do you work? I can't work that way I absolutely can not work that way because then I'm just going through the motions right on my guy go stand on the wall click good you look good got it that's not what I want I want to be motivated I want to be excited I wanna have a good time I mean, my god, when I'm on photo shoots I started nine a m in the morning and I'm going till seven, eight o'clock at night so if the sun's up were out shooting, can you imagine sitting in a car with me for twelve hours? And I'm just hating life every every time I'm sure like that's, not fun and so if you're not inspired every time you step behind, get behind that camera something you're not doing what you want to do and so I want you to I want to convince yourself commits you to start heading where do you want to be? Ask yourself that question. What kind of work do I want to produce for me? Not for the client if you produce the work right? What's the saying, if you if you if you're doing something you love, you never work a day in your life, right something like that, so if you if you're shooting for you, you will never be working you will be out there photographing and you just gotta feel like you've got model shoots going on all day long and that's how it is for me when I'm out there shooting, I never feel like I'm working, I'm just having a good time. I'm not paying attention. What happened to shoot before? I have no idea on what to shoot is after I have no idea what's going on back at the studio, I'm just in my zone because I'm literally loving what I'm doing. And as for tarver's ifyou're not loving what you're doing, then there's something else wrong? How do we get you there? And where is that there? Where do you want to be? And that's the part I'm gonna challenge you to think about, write it down right now. Where do I want to be a question mark and tell me, tell yourself where you want to be hey that's, the challenge you have to know where you want to be there's no right or wrong answer every event. Here's, what I want you to do again when I say event seniors, families, babies, weddings doesn't matter what it is this is this is kind of neutral information eighty five percent of what you're doing has to be for the client. Right and when I say for the client right even though I just told you got to shoot for you I mean you have to deliver what they're hiring you for and hopefully there's not a disconnect there that you're shooting the way you want to shoot your delivering what you want to deliver fifteen percent of that shoot should be absolutely selfishly aboutyou so every time you step out there do something that you know you have to deliver for the sales room right? I have to hit it for taylor to make those big sales but then fifteen percent of the day I'm trying new stuff ivan experiment get my off camera flash out I'm going back like I'm gonna gel it right I'm gonna do all sorts of different things and maybe it sucks okay with that experimentation is what it's all about that's the fun that starts helping you figure out like oh wow I did this you know, we were just in new york city and I'll try and show pictures from in a later segment we were just in new york city and we were doing a photo shoot up there in the night before I'm going through my bag and mike and I got all these gels I bought him a long time ago because I was convinced I would need them I haven't used them in like two years so I'm like we should try messing around with this so we did we started putting cto gels on the flash changing the color balance to tungsten alright that makes everything go blue natural light will turn blue and then you're warming them up with the gel was an experiment so my next day I'm on a photo shoot I pull that out to experiment the results I was getting about because we were doing something that was different the picture just looked different didn't look like something that would normally come for me that's what I'm trying to get you to do with that fifteen percent um and today you don't even have to show the client these pictures if they suck they suck don't show him that's why the eighty five percent of so important this way if you screw up that fifteen percent you have nothing to worry about a case in point I love to shoot wide open right so I have an eighty five one point two fifty one point to if you shoot wide open especially that one too if you should wide open there's a good chance sixty seventy percent of what you shoot is gonna be soft it's just the nature of the beast I mean it's so hard to get a tax chart every once in a while though I get the shot I know I have to get but I think man I just want this nice milky background behind them I want everything to just you know, go blurry unless you want to it's an experiment that's in that fifteen percent I'll overshoot I'll take fifty frames where I would normally only take five just to make sure I've got that one that is absolutely tack sharp again I'm experimenting I'm constantly challenging myself to just do something different I want you to put a shot list together an inspiration board creatives do this all the time I have an inspiration board now have multiple ways of having an inspiration board I pull out magazines ads I take pictures off pictures so we were we were just in brazil and we're walking through you know, the international terminal in brazil and I see this ad on the wall it's not even in english writes all portuguese but the way the ad was designed the text that was being used I just thought it was the coolest thing. So here I am in an airport to stop, you know listen, taylor like let's go we're late, I'm like hold on all right, I'm taking that picture is inspiration because I like liked what I was seeing. So where you finding inspiration? Where's your inspiration board eyes that you know to get email blast you have a folder on your desktop put together this inspiration board and that's gonna help you every once in a while look for something different don't look to other wedding photographers for inspiration so slowly start swapping these new shots out remember what we're talking about here? We're talking about that transition plan to get from where you are now to where you want to be, wherever you're saying you want to be slowly start putting these new images on your website what that's going to do is start attracting that kind of client that's the key part there if you're not happy with the client that's being drawn in today that's your fault let's, start making that change slowly start dropping these pictures in, um, you've got to show these marketing in marketing pieces, so as you're starting to marketing, don't use the old pictures in the marketing, you're just going to track the wrong people if you're going to facebook ads don't put the old pictures in the facebook ads, put the new pictures, writes what ashley was saying she did, she used that that edgy family portrait and that's what started getting those people into our studio? So same concept here, wherever you're using your new imagery, use the new stuff bridal shows use the new stuff right? If you're into wedding photography, seniors on your marketing flyers put the new stuff the edgier stuff that you're looking to transition to you're gonna have to swap out all your samples, your albums if I walk into your studio to a for purchasing session and I look on the walls in your in your sales room and everything that's up on the wall is all that old marketing material or right promotional pieces or a shot you took five years ago? It's problematic. We gotta update this stuff, man labs are always running south, right? Thirty percent off, thirty five percent off update your stuff. You just got to do it. You gotta have current stuff up on the wall, so at least you should get into a rhythm where every like six months, you're refreshing that your entire studio that's not what I'm saying, but refreshing pieces within that every six months. I mean, that's just what you should be doing. And then what we knew is let's say, I had a piece on the wall for a year. When that piece comes down, I'll actually try and sell it to the client somebody cost hey, guys, where are we putting replenishing all our marketing pieces? You know, we got this piece in the wall? Not sure if you're interested. I'd sell two for cost break eighty percent of the time they're going to take it and be like, that's awesome, easy now they're paying to help you replenish your studio samples, this what we're talking about needs to be party or ninety day plan absolutely without a doubt part of your ninety day plan you should not be waiting any longer to do this in fact work with models if you have to well, I was working with um a studio I've been talking about him and his wife a couple of times during the segments lenny vulture all right he's a retired for out of florida brenda yours friend of mine now lenny lenny's a shutter faster but he's transitioning his studio from florida to new york well how you gonna get your studio into new york are you gonna get business in new york if you're showing all florida beach pictures you can't do it right? Well, he was just up in new york city and I said the only way you're gonna do this is you in your next thirty days you need to add five to ten shoots to your portfolio to show on your website to show that you're doing new york city shoots in weddings what do you they did a post on their facebook site did a post on their their families facebook site got their friends to do post on their facebook sites hey, we're gonna be in new york city we're looking for we're looking for anyone who wants to model this age they've got some dresses they connected with a dress shop and last week in new york city they did five shoots so they're rebuilding their portfolio to do what they want to do you have to do the same exact thing. So twenty fourteen for me was the year of reinvention I was shooting my weddings were becoming mundane and I have to remain inspired so I go through the same things you guys go through I wanted to alter my editing style my posing ultimately I just wanted to play and so we went on a uh we wanted a trip to europe for business and I made sure to add extra time from me it was all about me and it was amazing I didn't have to answer to a client I could experiment I wanted to experiment with lighting. Okay, so all too often I go to these photo shoots and I'm just about available light and that's fine that's kind of the nature of what we do but I want my images to start having that different look and feel that is beyond just natural like everybody's doing natural light so I want my images to stand out and so I look it uh I look at it this is a way that we have to reinvent ourselves. And so if your wedding photographer okay here's your roadmap here's how you do it but we don't have to talk about anymore you can go do it, grab a dress from a local bridal salon easy tom you're gonna even free pictures connect with the florist again you're gonna give him free pictures make a fake bouquet if you have to pick five locations all different okay now you don't have to go to europe that's not what I'm suggesting I just happen to be very lucky in my travel schedule on where I was but I could have done this at home I said okay I'm in st louis I'm going to completely different places I'm gonna go to chicago I'm going to nashville all places that I could drive within a three and a half four hour window same thing for you no matter where you are in the country pick a pick a day a two day window and go to that city and just shoot and have fun and be inspired and do something different and so grab a model that model listen have to be someone on model mayhem in fact I'm encouraging you guys out here we have that off day go out and shoot get a model get somebody and just go around seattle and shoot and do something different you're in another part of the country for crying out loud wherever I am whenever I'm traveling I try to make sure I tie a shoot for myself there and I don't care if that's a model a friend of a friend whatever the case may be I should want to get out and home my skills and so let me do this. I told you about it, but the same concept would work for seniors, families, babies, kids, whatever your niche is, this concept works, it's just a framework. And so here's, what we did, we were in prague, and we're driving down the road, and we just see this forest, right? And where we were we that it wasn't on the map, it wasn't some place we were heading to. We just saw it and were like, stop! Get out of the car. We're shooting here. We don't even have a model with us. So suddenly elissa had to play model for us. And so right, we we can't. We travel with all our gear rights were like gypsies were traveling. We got wedding dresses with us wardrobe with us had pieces with us. Um, and so we had our pro photo be one. I don't know anybody there using it you want are using it. You're lusting for it though. You want to tell your wife I told you you should buy blame south. And so ultimately, this light puts out five hundred watts of power per second. So if your photographer and you're looking for that, that thing that will give you that little bit of extra pop this is that thing five hundred watts perspective your speed lights put out fifty to sixty watts per second. You're talking about a ten times power difference recycle time there's no there's, no power source meaning outlets you don't have to plug it in battery pack built right in this is amazing for seniors, families, babies, whatever you're working on the amount of power and recycled time that this thing is putting out it's expensive not gonna lie but the power is incredible on the quality is incredible and so here's how we let the scene very high tech, we're here all this is being backlit I'm trying to take it with just natural light it's not working right? Because I'm blowing out everything around her the got dark shadows under her eyes. But I don't have any light modifiers with me either for this thing, right? So normally my style is very edgy, hard, light. Normally I'd be okay, but that's not what this trip was about. I wanted something a little bit softer, so we took our reflector, fired it into the reflector and soften that light, right? And we just made a bigger light source first that hard edge end your life that was the result for me this is completely different. Then you would normally see out of my studio was something just completely different. Has that kind of surreal feel? Alright? You could say it's even like a spooky, weird field. Whatever the case may be but it's different it's something that we were doing that was completely different. That's what? It's all about experiment. This is a recent shot we did when we were in prague as well. So part of my trip to prague, I was teaching a workshop out there and I met one of my students and we just happen to be talking and she's showing me her portfolio. And she has these glass things. I don't even know what to call them. And I'm like, what the hell is that? Where'd you get that she's like oh, my my friend from poland made these she's she's an artist she's she's, a glass sculptor. I'm like, can we get these cycles? She's in poland, my cat, we get thes. And so we made her drive in from poland to prague. We paid her to drive in. Okay, uh, to give us these pieces we were scrambled to get we had no place to shoot them. Okay, we weren't gonna go outside to shoot something like this. So we're scrambling now my team loves when I do this, by the way, I'm like yes, we're doing it and then behind the scenes it's chaos because everybody's got to figure out how to make what I just wanted to do happen, so we had to find a studio in prague that spoke english that would let us rent the studio, rent a sliding and all that other stuff, and so this is one of those shots that came out of it. This is one of those shots that came out of it and it's pure chaos, we had a model, and with a make up artist, the model flaked out an hour before the shoot. The makeup artist just never showed up to our shoot, so now suddenly, taylor, you're up, you're modeling melissa, you're up, you're a makeup artist, and so this is that these are the kind of things that you have to be able to deal with the challenges as your honor as you're on these photo shoots also something else I just wanted to experiment with. This is not my normal style if I would've put thes three images up and forget that it's taylor pretend you don't even know who it is if I would've put an image like this op next to one of my other images, you would not know these images are mine and that was my goal, right? I'm experimenting with lighting them, experimenting with posing. I want to do something different, ese ayer things I absolutely will show my bride. I'm tired of the same old bridal sexy shots, right she's wrapped in a veil. Great, I want to do something different and I thought, man, this would be really cool to do something different on the experimentation continues we were just in brazil, we're in this crappy room you could see it's not a very exciting room to be in taylor's firing the b one outside, bouncing it off the wall outside to give us this right so we wanted to do something different again. This is also not something you're typically seeing come from my studio. But how cool would that be for any bride getting ready in any hotel room? If we could make this hotel room, which was horrible look like this, I'm sure I can come up with something at the four seasons, right? I'm sure I can come up with something at a high end. Hilton this is what I'm telling you. I would never try this shot had I not tried it here, I would never try this with my bride it's just not normal for me, and I would panic. Because, first of all, in a typical hotel, I don't know how I'm gonna get taylor outside bouncing flash right into the into the room. That's not typically something that's going to happen, I would be it took me probably fifteen minutes to get the light dialed in to where I wanted it to be. I don't have that kind of time on our wedding day. Most of us don't right. You have to go in, get your shot, move on. This is why it's so important to experiment, to figure out who you are and what you want to be. So now, because I've experimented with this and I'm comfortable with it now my next wedding, this is going to come like that. No problem. That's what I'm trying to get you to see and understand right for the guy we show up to this beach scene. We wanted to try something different. So we put a little two by two soft box and instead of lighting it traditionally right on him, we did something a little different. Can you see this? Look for seniors? I can senior boys what senior boys not gonna want something like this. What athlete is not going to want something like this? This is what the experimentation is about look at that background doesn't even look real if you actually were not looking at this on the tv and looking at like a true resolution and shot, it actually looks like we have a fake backdrop behind him which is kind of awesome because typically this doesn't look like this so this was shot with at one point two not something you would normally do but because it was a dark, cloudy, overcast day I was able to get the camera down a one point two and pull that shot off as you're going to lose before and after I have this impact of wow that's uh that's amazing seeing the change from one to the other do you ever use that in your marketing? We do not necessarily know market it's actually a really good question we use it in our sales presentation, right? Because I know what you're saying you're looking at the scene as it looks like this through the natural I write because this is what it looks like through the natural eye and then you're seeing what we were able to do to it and you're going holy crap that's incredible right or something like this? Hey, we're in a crappy hotel room, but we're still creating beauty um we don't necessarily use that in our marketing, but my bride was in this room in theory, right? So when she sees a shot like this come up she's going oh, my god room didn't look like that, right? The scene didn't look like that. And that's how we do it so I don't necessarily use it in my marketing. I use it in my sales when the bride comes in and she's seeing what? What we created with what we had she's like this's artwork. This is incredible and sudden she's she's willing to spend more money. This particular guy is a model in brazil. And when I showed him the shot, he went crazy. He's, like, I have nothing in my portfolio that looks like this he's not a part time model. He's. A paid model. And so he's, like I have nothing that looks like this in my portfolio. So when you can start impressing your models by doing something like this, that that's a good thing, that means you're doing something right? Uh, right. And then elissa, we have here. I don't know if she knew she was gonna be on camera today. It's good times. She made that headpiece. Okay, so we again once I've got a big head piece guy, when you look at people like super eyes, she's, all about the arts and crafts and getting all that stuff together and boom, she creates magic, right? So I'm inspired by that I'm like, okay, I want to try this. I want I want to take my shot at it. So we send eliza that headpiece she she made you know, coster but it cost about thirty five forty u s dollars she sought they're doing all these things the flowers. I have no idea what she was doing. I couldn't do it if I tried um and that was what we created with it. All right, so this is the kind of stuff I'm telling you. I couldn't necessarily do this on a wedding day, but I was able to do this and reinvest into my portfolio. Now I wouldn't come back from a from a shoot like that and not produce something that is just a sound that's me that's, my style landscape inspired off camera flash behind her this beautiful blue sky that was the natural color of the sky. By the way, I was fading and so of course we color corrected for the flash hitting her, but just an absolute epic shot that will be my next bridal show. That will be something I'm showing to my brides that to me is signature south some khanna that is my style. A za photographer and I love it and so I don't care what other photographers think. I don't care what about any of my work, by the way, nor should you. I care that my clients love it as long as our clients love it, that means they're booking. That means they're spending money. That means they're wowed and I don't care who you are if you don't look at that image, go damn, then I don't know what you're looking at because my clients are going to walk in at my bridal show they're going to see something like that and they're going to go I want that great! This took me fifteen minutes to get my crap together toe delighted correctly to communicate with everybody. So now that I've practiced and worked out all the kinks now, I can do it on a wedding day like that. I know exactly what it takes and that's why I want to go out there and practice just thing about every major sports athlete. Two athletes just show up on game day and they're like, bam, I got it the way they practise, practise, practise, practise, practise, practise six days a week for that one day of gave that one hour of game time. But yet, it's photographers for some reason we don't think we have to go out in practice. We practice on our coffins, I'm suggesting the opposite. I'm suggesting that we go out and we practice and we do stuff like this so that when it's game day, we're ready to go, we're not worried, we're not panicking, we're not we're not messing around with gear and and just getting all frazzled right, I'm ready to go, so that's, what I'm trying to encourage you to do. All right, so that's kind of it for this segment. I hope this all makes sense. And again, I just like to share with you my journey, because even that I've since I've been doing this since I'm a kid every year, I'm still trying to up my own level. I'm still trying to challenge myself to be better than I was the year before and that's all I want for you guys, right is to keep pushing yourself. Keep challenging yourself tto be better.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Master the Business of Photography - Workbook
Master the Business of Photography Slides
5 Tips to Finding and Booking Your Client

Ratings and Reviews

Brandon D

Sal isn't disgruntled and angry like someone below said, and he doesn't have time for people constantly whining about why their business isn't going good. He's from Brooklyn, so he can come across as harsh at first, but after watching several of his classes and even getting to meet him in person and talk a bit I can tell you he is a really nice guy who truly does want you to succeed. He was very encouraging to me after I thanked him for helping me and my business get to where it is now. Growing up, I can remember photographers grabbing us and posing how they wished. They are often in a hurry to get things right, such as at a wedding, so I am not sure why one reviewer stated he would dismiss them. Sounds like he is just looking for a reason to feel powerful. Anyway, this is a great class to get you on track with your business. Yes, its a bit wedding heavy, but the concepts are the same no matter what. Just apply them to your niche and you are good to go.


Amazing course. Sal is such a great photography educator. Terrific course. I'm not usually big on watching business courses, but this course as taught by Sal was terrific. Down to earth, entertaining, packed with real life experiences do's, don'ts and lessons learned. This courses business A to Z and Sal is very entertaining to watch/listen to. Thanks CreativeLive for getting Sal.

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I have been a long time fan of Creative Live and have sat on the fence with all of Sal's classes because I already attend Shutterfest every year and get loaded with valuable information there, so it was hard to pull the trigger on a $300 course that was filmed 5 years ago. Also, in my earlier days of hearing about Sal, I'd heard a lot of negative opinions about how he comes across. Still, I'd heard he's a marketing guru, and my background is in marketing as well, so I really wanted to see what this class was all about. Now that I've finally gotten it, I'm completely blown away. There is just SO MUCH MATERIAL in this class that its actually difficult trying to decide what to implement first! It is good stuff too. It is all about marketing, sales, and workflow. If you're looking for a class teaching you how to take better photos, this one is not it. This is the class that teaches you how to get your work where everyone is seeing it and convincing people to book you and tell their friends about you! Now as far as others have already said... this class is definitely geared toward wedding photographers. Yes there are bits of information that work for other types of photography, but it is so heavily wedding oriented that there might be a better fit out there for another type of photographer. If you do weddings though, this is an amazing class! As far as Sal's personality goes.... he's a New Yorker transplanted to St. Louis. So expect that NYC no BS type of attitude. Susan Stripling is another one of my favorites and she is similar in attitude (and also extremely talented), so if you like her, you should like this. If you have a hard time with her, you might have a hard time with this. Regardless, its stuff y'all need to hear and implement to be successful. Obviously because the class is a bit older, you may have to make small tweaks to a few things (even though he says don't jack with the recipe), but the marketing principles are solid and timeless. Shoot this course is worth it for the SEO advice alone. Just buy it already!

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