Making the Move from Second Photographer to Primary Photographer

I am an earnest beginner. Just starting out. A weekend warrior. A never-been-to-art-or-journalism-school-photographer. A business owner who never imagined owning a business. As I wade more deeply into the wedding photography world, I am making the switch from second shooting to shooting weddings as a primary photographer. Along the way, I’ve focused on three things: craft, confidence, and clients.

1) Craft

I don’t know about you, but I got into this business because I wanted to make beautiful, meaningful images for couples in love. If I can’t consistently deliver those, then I have no basis for being in business. Given this belief, my first step was to build a technical and artistic foundation for my business honing the craft of photography.

Read. There are so many amazing websites and blogs (like this one) that provide considerable information for free! You can learn about lighting, posing, composition, how to make people feel comfortable in front …

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Making the Most of Senior Portrait Season – Part 2

Steph Villa Davis

They’re tuned into trends, they’re savvy social media players and they’ve got their parents’ pocketbooks! Ok, so there’s more to this unique market than those traits, but nobody can dispute this fact: Senior Portraits continue to grow in popularity. The Senior market is expanding as teenagers continue to connect with photographers who can create unique portraits of them and their friends. Since Spring is Senior Portrait Season, we’re sharing a series of posts from photographers who specialize in Seniors. Get to know these talented photographers and learn tips and tricks! This week’s featured Senior Portrait Pro is California-based photographer Steph Villa Davis.

Q. How do you educate seniors about what to wear for their session?

A. I have a pre-session consultation with all my senior clients and their parents. Depending on my schedule and theirs, this can be done by phone, in-person or sometimes we get super fancy and Skype. In this consultation, we discuss the elements …

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The Sequoia 2 – A Photographer’s Personal Review

Emily Harris

Meet Emily Harris, owner and chief photographer at Intimate Bridal Portraits, serving South Florida clients. The Photo Life team asked Emily to share her album design process with us and review the brand new Sequoia2 Album.

Q. What’s your sales process for getting clients to purchase albums?

Most of my photography packages include a wedding album. I offer my clients Printed Press Books and Sequoia Books. They always prefer to buy complete photography packages that include an album.

Q. What’s your favorite features about the Sequoia 2 album?

The small gutter line! Also, the eco-leather is really soft.

Q. How does your design process work for albums your studio offers?

I allow my clients to select the images that they would like to feature in their album. They do this by creating a folder on their Pictage web site. From the folder, I use Pictage’s free album design for Pro-level members. Once I receive an album proof, I email it …

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Senior Portraits are HOT, but Should Seniors Look “HOT?”

Vintage Senior Portraits

They’re tuned into trends, they’re savvy social media players and they’ve got their parents’ pocketbooks! Ok, so there’s more to this unique market than those traits, but nobody can dispute this fact: Senior Portraits continue to grow in popularity. The Senior market is expanding as teenagers continue to connect with photographers who can create unique portraits of them and their friends. Since Spring is officially Senior Portrait Season, we’re sharing a series of posts about this growing genre of photography. In this case, the topic may stir up some strong opinions. The above images depict a senior portrait from the 1950s and a senior portrait of Sydney Spies, the Colorado student who sparked national debate. Her image appeared in media ranging from broadcast news to regional newspapers.

We’ve come a long way, but have we gone too far?

As “Senior Portraiture” grows in popularity, photographers face tough questions. Clearly, this genre of …

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Making the Most of Senior Portrait Season – Part I

Photo by Tracy Moore

They’re tuned into trends, they’re savvy social media players and they’ve got their parents’ pocketbooks! Ok, so there’s more to this unique market than those traits, but nobody can dispute this fact: Senior Portraits continue to grow in popularity. The Senior market is expanding as teenagers continue to connect with photographers who can create unique portraits of them and their friends. Since Spring is officially Senior Portrait Season, we’re sharing a series of posts from photographers who specialize in Seniors. Get to know these talented photographers and learn their tips and tricks! This week’s featured Senior Portrait photographer is a self-proclaimed troublemaker. Tracy Moore is a Montana-based photographer who loves photographing senior girls because she has fun with them, befriends them and helps them create images full of personality!

Q. How do you approach (and book!)  senior clients?

A. I approach seniors as if I’m their awesome big sister! I’m just my …

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How to be Irresistible to Ideal Clients

Photo by Gary and Courtney

One of the biggest buzz phrases in photographers’ conversations about “branding” is the concept of your “Ideal Client.”

We are repeatedly told to identify our ideal client. As a concept, this seems to makes sense. And it’s an easy thing to say!

But how exactly do you do it?

So let’s cut the crap and figure out why exactly your ideal client matters and how exactly to identify them.

Identifying your ideal client matters for two reasons:

1) Your ideal client will help you reach your goals. Without the right client, you’ll never reach your goal of making X amount of money a year, or doing more destination weddings, being published on _______ blog or in ______ magazine, or even going full-time as a photographer. If a client isn’t going to help you get closer to your goals (whatever they may be), then they are not your ideal client.

2) Your ideal client will help you …

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Best Business Practices – Part 7

Spring is here, so we’re sharing a series of Best Business Practice posts featuring the team of ACEs and select photographers who have integrated ShootQ and Pictage into their studios. Get to know these fantastic folks and learn tips and tricks that will streamline your studio and help you conquer busy season!

Today’s profile is Ashley Davis, above, owner and principal photographer at Ashley Davis Photography. As a professional photographer, Ashley seeks the human experience – authentic, organic, fresh – and a real connection with her subject. She photographs weddings and portraits across the country.

When not shooting, you can find her hiking, gardening, or doing yoga in the foothills of Boulder, Colorado with her husband and dog.

Q. How long have you been using ShootQ? 

A. Five months.

Q. What were you using to manage your business before ShootQ?

A. Nothing really. I ‘handmade’ my own system over several years of business to help me stay organized, but it wasn’t very efficient. Handmade is good …

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Why Your Business Needs Kick-Ass Competitors

Photo by Dove Wedding Photography

Competition is like fuel. It can catalyze progress or cause an explosion.

The thing I love most about being a wedding and portrait photographer is the community. I have fun and have wonderful friends who are also wedding and portrait photographers. I would be fooling myself though if I didn’t admit that I compete with colleagues in my community.

Do you ever notice that you’re competing against other photographers who you admire or even call friends?

Competition is easy to notice when you’re looking at businesses that are similar to yours. It becomes REALLY obvious when you’re competing against a similar business that you dislike. How we handle competition defines how successful our business will be.

Unhealthy Competition

When the word “competition” comes to mind, most of us think of unhealthy competition. When I think of strong business competition I often think of ruthless fighting or unethical acts. Sadly, this type of competition does exist. Most …

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The Truth about the “Rockstar Economy”

Photo by Spencer Lum

Here is a fundamental truth: Nothing is equal. No actions, no thoughts, no ideas. Certainly no two people.

I would be lying if I said what works for me won’t work for you, but the more important and accurate statement is that what works for me won’t work the same for you. Not in the long term. In the short term, we may not see the differences, but over the course of a career, results will always vary, and not always in the way we want.

I could rattle off 5 tips to improve your business now. If they’re the right 5 for you, they’ll do something. But there are no ruby red slippers in real life, and there is no secret sauce. There is ability and the decisions you make. There are the thoughts racing through your mind in the middle of the night and the beat of your heart pounding …

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Best Business Practices – Part 6

Spring is here, so we’re sharing a series of Best Business Practice posts featuring the team of ACEs and select photographers who have integrated ShootQ and Pictage into their studios. Get to know these fantastic folks and learn tips and tricks that will streamline your studio and help you conquer busy season!

Today’s profile is Denise Birdsong, above, owner and principal photographer at Modern Love Photography. Denise’s studio specializes in weddings, beauty and boudoir with the goal of creating gorgeous evocative imagery.

Q. How long have you been using ShootQ? 

A. I’ve been using ShootQ for about two years.

Q. What were you using to manage your business before ShootQ? 

A. Shoe strings and some band aids. Really, nothing and it was a mess!

Q. What prompted you to move over to ShootQ?

A. Being the most disorganized person on the planet, when I took a tour and saw the possibilities for organization and streamlined workflows, I was smitten with ShootQ!

Q. What’s the biggest difference you’ve seen in your business as result of using ShootQ? 

A. As a …

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