DREAM CLIENTS, IMPOSTER SYNDROME, SECOND SHOOTER ETIQUETTE, NICHING DOWN AND BECOMING A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
Hey Fam, sorry I haven’t been here in a week. I’ve been trying to keep up with all the many tasks and man, spring cleaning and spring bookings are a real thing. But that’s beside the point. Today I want to take you guys behind the scenes of what it’s like to have me as a mentor. I did recently do a giveaway of four mentorships and they were so much fun. And did you know I plan on putting a couple snippets in the podcast episode? Of course you didn’t know. So this episode today will be about Kaylee. She is adorable. And we’re gonna be talking about pivoting. We’re talking about booking your ideal client. We’re also going to be talking about pricing your work, second shooter etiquette and booking your first wedding.
So this episode is packed full of free information for you. So what are you waiting for? Let’s dive in.
Okay, I struggle with imposter syndrome, just putting that out there. I’m trying to overcome that, because the market is saturated with people that are like marketing themselves as photographers, and I never really set out to do that. I really struggled to call myself off photographers. So when it comes to pricing, I really started out just being shocked that people wanted to pay me in the first place. At first I was like Oh, I’ll like, trade you or like, buy me a coffee but then it got to a point where now that was investing in lightroom and I want photo storage and all of the things. I basically was just trying to, like, bring in money to sustain my hobby here.That was at the beginning.
So I’ve been doing Photography for about three years now. I guess my biggest struggle is that I really like the lifestyle stuff. What I really have found in this last year is that I’ve shot a lot of families, couples and groups. What I really like, not to be ageist but I really like this young demographic of young couples. I feel like I could confidently do it, if someone is like we don’t have money to hire a wedding Photographer, I’d be like hire me.
So that’s really a struggle because the age I like to shoot with is young and I feel like they often don’t have money, and so they’re like, We can’t pay you, But that’s who I’d like to shoot with. So it’s just been like trying to figure out where my pricing should be in order to bring in clients that can actually pay me. I like to do lifestyle images for young bloggers, young couples, people that are like millennials that are on IG being like influencers. I love doing that but a lot of them are like Okay, I have $50 bucks. So I feel like that’s a Catch 22.
Okay, that’s fine. Um, I went through the same thing in the beginning, so it’s like in the beginning you’re trying to figure out, like what your niche, where you fit in what you can charge, who your ideal client is. And that’s what my question is for you. Do you know what your ideal client is like? What age group is the group you’re talking about here, do you know?
Okay. One of the reasons I really want to build a website and a separate instagram was because I really would like to do high school seniors.I feel really confident posing them, I really like talking to that age, I feel like they like me. They find me on Instagram but like when I only had a personal page. So their parents would be the one paying the bill and only see a personal page and be like, you’re not a photographer.
Um, so I like highschool seniors, but I haven’t really been able to bring any of those in. I have worked with a lot of young couples that are in their 20’s, young engaged or married people.
Well, what is your pricing?
Um, that’s the other thing I wanted to talk to you about but because I feel it is very fluid because I match people’s needs. I try to be flexible with what other people need. So I’ll try to change my packages in order to accommodate what the client can afford so they can have nice pictures. If there’s like an engaged couple that doesn’t have very much money to put towards engagement pictures. I’m not going to give them a full engagement album but I’ll provide them with some images. I don’t know, I’m bad at this.
Okay. So when I first started out, I was a lot like you. I didn’t want to get into weddings because I wasn’t super confident about it yet. But I got into seniors, and I really got into senior. So I built my business and senior photography for, like, two years, and it was thriving, so it’s definitely possible.
Um, now, you have no pricing on here though. You don’t say you specialize in seniors. You don’t talk about anything about the senior experience. You don’t say anything about influencers. You don’t talk about branding photography. Like I had no idea. I had NO idea that’s what you really want to do.
So if that’s what you want to do, you better talk about it SO much.
was developing. So definitely I would market that, like a lot in your blog post and give tips. I used to do like three tips and how to improve your senior experience and then kind of like at the very end plug in why you’re a great fit and a recent shot you did.
In your stories you need to be showing behind the scenes, working with influencers. You know, just grab a friend, have her changing outfits. Like I’m serious. Do you have a sister? I mean, I used my sisters for everything, and I marketed the heck out of a senior experience that I couldn’t even afford to pay for.
If you wanna work with millennials that are broke, they’re gonna have to meet you halfway. I highly suggest that you say it’s $100. You could put 50 down now and then $50 before the session, like that’s what I charge for my brand photography. You’re going to get this many images, you’re gonna get two hours. Then eventually they’re gonna start referring you to their friends. Not to mention you get material for your instagram, material for your blog, it’s almost like you’re getting paid to market something. Then eventually raise your prices when you get too many enquiries. Oh and STOP matching their prices. My God. Okay, your work is great. So you are worth whatever you want to charge. But if you just really want to get out there and have people talking about you start at the bottom. That’s OK, But don’t start a zero.
So, I need you to sell the senior experience to me. I need this to be because you’re selling it to the moms, too. The girl’s already like you, so that’s good. Now you got to get mom to like you. Make a pricing guide, talk tips or what time is the best time to do shoots and then show examples of your work.
If you really need a jumpstart and really need to get out there, I always suggest people doing a give away. Like, select someone who is like your ideal client. Give them a theme, give them the outfits you want them to wear, completely structure this shoot to where it looks like whatever you want to do from this point forward. And then once you do that, shoot and you say in exchange, like you have to market me. Okay? This is a free session. You market me, you get free images, and then I’m gonna use my portfolio.
So if those two are your passions right now and like weddings aren’t your passion, then you need to market the heck out of those until you feel like you’re in a place where you can shoot someone’s wedding.
So you do want to start second shooting, so that you want to get into that demographic too? Okay, tell me a little bit about that.
I just really enjoy weddings. I’ve been like a professional bridesmaid. I’ve been a maid of honor three times. My brother got married that summer and his photographer was like my age or younger and had a second shooter. So she was doing the flatlay And I was like “Oh, like here’s the ribbon from my robe it’s the color of the bridesmaid dresses, do you wanna weave that into your flatlay to get the color?” because she didn’t have any color . She was like “Oh, yeah, that’s pretty good.” Like,I get excited about that stuff. So I kind of formed a relationship with her and like, then randomly, I had another photographer I follow that, I didn’t think I was even on their radar. So her second shooter backed out of something at the last minute. So she asked “Would you be able to fill in tomorrow for a wedding?” And I was like, “Oh, my gosh, this is a dream..” But then it ended up that the other lady stepped up and was able to come.
But I didn’t know this girl, knew I existed. She’s one of my favorites. So I was, like, “keep me in mind for future weddings.”
I’m new to that market. So I don’t know how that works and what to look out for or like is there a contract you need to have in place? Should I reach out to photographers and say like, I have availability? Like I can shoot this coming summer, I really like your work. If you like I’m flexible, I work Monday through Friday 9-5, so I have every weekend free and I love it and I could totally start doing second shooting.
Yeah. So I will tell you what to do and what not to do. What I look for in a second shooter, I’m looking for someone that’s DM’ing me saying “Hey, I love your work like it speaks to me” Please fluff up the photographer. We love to be complimented, but also say, like, “How can I assist you this year? I’m looking to build a portfolio, and I would love to help you in any way that I can. You know, I love X, Y and Z. This is my gear. And like, just like if something happens like please keeping in mind, I would love to work with you. I’d love to assist you.”
What I normally get in my DM’s is, “Hey, I’m looking to put my portfolio. It’s just like an shooter. Contact me” and I’m like, okay, so basically, you just want, like my clients to broadcast your own work. It’s really in how you word it. I would say, compliment, tell them how you’re going to help them, tell them why you chose them and ask how you can help instead of saying I just want to take from you.
A couple photographers have different systems, you know, they’ll say, Hey, you know, this is what I pay second shooters, you know? Or sometimes that can sure say my rate is like $35 an hour or $50 an hour. People that have a well established wedding photography business usually like to be paid 50 bucks an hour. But if you’re like, starting out $25-30 ish is a good range.
Um, I think. It’s a really good lens to start with. Um, me personally, I just care that you know how to use a flash and that you have a couple primes as well. It’s professional gear like don’t have, like a 1.8. Please have a good 1.4 atleast and a full frame camera. Um, I don’t think you need two cameras to be shooting or anything like that.
Alright girl, so you gotta curb this imposter syndrome, and it will come with practice. It will come with just doing more and more and more of what you love. I’m excited for you, girl!