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If $12 could fix everything in your business…
July 2nd, 2015   |   0 comments

Why is it the older I get, the more I feel I can’t leave the house without makeup on?  And getting a makeover is always a good idea!

 

That’s probably why I am so excited about the new makeover on our site!

 

Our Training Center (formerly the VIP Area) is better and easier to navigate than ever!

 

Check out this little sample of one of the over 150 trainings, tools, contracts, pricing guides, templates and more!

GET LOADS MORE TRAININGS LIKE THIS!!

If you could you get excited about finally getting new clients that absolutely LOVE you, or figuring out your pricing once and for all, or getting the right tools to keep you organized so you can spend more time with your family, then it’s time to join us in the Training Center and learn as much as you want at your own pace!

 

Valued at $39.95 per month, for a limited time, we are keeping our prices to the low $11.95 per month - get started today and be grandfathered in at that price!

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A Look at Amy Pate’s Studio Expenses
June 25th, 2015   |   0 comments
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Amy Pate is a phenomenal photographer in Alabama.  She started out without a studio, but now has been in 4 different studio locations, and she absolutely loves it!  In this interview she shares how she got started with her first studio and some of the expenses she had.  She also shares that she now has 4 times the amount of work and has a full blown studio that she operates with the help of 2 assistants.  We know that every photographer will have a different experience and different expenses, but hearing what Amy has done is a great resource and inspiration for any photographer that is thinking of opening their own studio!  Read her story below!

Read her previous post about the benefits of having a studio here.

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When you first opened your studio, what would you say you spent overall just to get it open? 

My first studio was technically in my basement, and I didn't have much overhead there. My first "official" studio was a large concrete room. It's was TINY, but I loved it! I had accumulated so much equipment and props over the years that I didn't really have to pour a lot into buying stuff. I did have to buy furniture for the sitting area, everything came from Target so it wasn't super expensive. I had to buy curtains to make room dividers, that was probably my biggest expense. I maybe put about $1000 into my first studio to have it nice enough to have clients come in!

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Did you have to remodel the space you were renting?  If so, what were your costs to do that?

Nope, it was a residential space so remodeling wasn't permitted. It was a privately owned loft and the owner didn't want me doing anything to it. So we had to keep the ugly black concrete floors and just use those fake wood flooring drops. The place I'm in now is a commercial space and the landlord gave me free range to do any remodeling I wanted. That was fun!!

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What did you spend in the following areas?

Rent –In my first studio rent was $800/month, it's $1375 now.

Photography equipment (lights, camera, lenses, etc.)- Maybe around $2500.

Props- I found stuff at flea malls and antique stores, I put everything I made the first 2 years of business back into purchasing stuff like props and equipment.

Backdrops- I used to use these alot, but I've really became very minimalist in my backdrops so I've sold a bunch. I think I probably at one time had about 10-12 of these, at about $100 a piece. Now I have about 4-5 I use.  I also use a lot of seamless paper. Those run about $50 a roll.

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Décor-I've probably spent about $1000-$1200 in decor and sitting area furniture.

Computers - I have 2 MacPros, and 2 Macbook laptops. One laptop stays at home and the other laptop and macbook are for my 2 assistants.

Alarm/security system - never had one and don't now (probably shouldn't tell people that).

Signage-I have a large 20x30 canvas hanging in my window and a vinyl decal on my door.

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Insurance-I spend about $700 a year on insurance, I bought a lot of coverage to cover any equipment I carry outside of my studio. It usually isn't that costly.

Marketing - I don't spend much at all on marketing! I started out really just word of mouth. Every once in awhile I'll pay to boost an a mini session on FB. The one thing I pay for as far as marketing is my Mailchimp account to send out my monthly newsletters. That's worth every penny and I will always tell new photographers that's one of the most important things to invest in!

Did you have to remodel the space you were renting?  If so, what were your costs to do that? 

The original space I was in I didn't remodel, the landlord wouldn't allow it. My current space I built a small 10x10 office which cost me about $1200. I painted my floors white....which cost about $800! Paint is expensive!!!

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Were there any other costs involved that you weren’t prepared for or aware of?

Not that I can think of.

What products did you invest in to display and do you find you sell more of those displayed products?

I sale a lot of canvas art so I have several pieces in all different sizes around the studio. I also love photos on matboard! I don't sale any products that I don't have available in my studio for my clients to touch and feel.

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Did you feel that you needed to increase your amount of shoots/sessions in order to cover the costs of the studio? 

I was SO scared when I moved into my first studio about 4 years ago, I was completely terrified! I thought there is no way I'll be able to stay busy enough to pay for all the overhead. But I did, I MADE it work! Renting out the studio per hour to local photographers really helped a ton. A few months I broke even with rent and utilities with all the other photographers using my space. I increased my shoots naturally because the studio appealed to more clients and I was more "official"!  I've quadrupled my business in the last several years of having a studio.

Did you get a loan to help you get started?  If so, was it a small business loan or a personal loan?

No, I never got any loans. I took a loss for the first 2 years because I would just spend what I was making on things I needed for my business.

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Who does your finances for your business?  Do you or do you pay someone else to do it?

I have an accountant that does my bookkeeping and my taxes

Why do you feel the benefits of owning a studio out weigh the stress of the extra expense?

I shoot about 85% of newborns, so having a studio I feel is essential for my business. I've definitely grown very slowly and have been in 4 studios, and each one has more and more overhead. But my business has grown so much that I couldn't grow it without having a studio.

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Anything else you would share for someone who might be getting started also?

Start out slowly, make sure you have enough business to pay for any expenses you could have.  Do A LOT of research about any space you're looking at. Go in with a studio mate and split the cost!


Step by Step Guide: How To Build a Newsletter
June 17th, 2015   |   0 comments
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Thank you to everyone that participated in our survey we took a few weeks ago! Hopefully your time was worth it, because as a result we have created a new tool for you to use to help you along in your business! Step by Step Guides!

Today we are introducing our first Step by Step guide on how to build a newsletter! When I was building my first business I learned through many painful mistakes that finding and building new customers was the hardest and most expensive part of marketing, but once they were my customers, they would stay with me for years as long as I reached out to them regularly and kept in touch. As my customer base grew and I kept in touch with them, my sales increased dramatically! But anytime I would get lazy and not reach out to them, I would lose customers! Not because they didn’t love me and want what I had to offer, but mostly because they were too busy to find my contact info and get a hold of me. Sending regular newsletters can be a huge step in your marketing and we want to make it as easy as we can for you! This guide will take you a step at a time through the creation, organization, and final touches of sending out an email newsletter!

We can’t wait for you to get it!

 
Family Photography Client Questionnaire
June 4th, 2015   |   0 comments
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Hey everyone!

I thought I would share a quick pic I took of my baby from yesterday. My camera has been collecting dust lately, but I recently found Suzanne Gipson’s work (I’m super excited that we’ll be hearing from her soon) and was inspired to pull out my camera and capture a little more of my every day happenings before these little hands loose all their chubbiness! I also decided to keep my camera out (either on top of the fridge, on the counter, etc.) so that it’s easier to just grab and snap a shot. Especially of my teenage boys who don’t like posing for shots. I have to grab them in the moment, or I can’t get them at all!

Today we are sharing a Family Photography Client Questionnaire

Using a Client Questionnaire can be huge for your client experience. Think of how many times you’ve received a bad haircut because your stylist didn’t listen to what you really wanted. In the same way, the more you listen to what your photography clients want, the better you can provide them with an exceptional experience and keep them (and their friends) coming back to you. This questionnaire can help you with just that.

We recommend using it a few different ways. You can simply save a copy of this and send it to your client. Or, simply copy and paste the questions into an email to send to them. Feel free to change any of the questions to fit your style better.


A Peak into Concert and Entertainment Photography
May 22nd, 2015   |   0 comments

Leavitt Wells is an awesome photographer who has been working as a Concert and Entertainment Photographer for a few years.  Listen to her fun interview as we discuss how to get into this field, what her work looks and feels like, and some of the fun celebrities that she has shot for!  And that is … Continue reading

 
Kristen’s “Secret Sauce”
May 7th, 2015   |   0 comments

Kristen Simpson is a wedding photographer out of Rockford Illinois (not to Illi-noise like I spoof up in this video – haha!).  Listen to her simple and smart ways to develop relationships with not only her brides but their family and friends so that she stays fully booked! What I love most are the 3 … Continue reading

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