This topic has 22 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 2 years, 10 months ago by musenphotos.

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    • #2670
       WebAdmin
      Keymaster

      This area is just for you and Ana Brandt – no one else can see the contents.
      Please answer the following questions

      1 – what is your number one challenge right now?
      2 – if you could change one thing what would it be?
      3 – what do you want for yourself for 2018?
      4 – are you working full time or part time?
      5 – do you work in the home or at a studio

      Ana will be on after your first initial questions on answered to make a plan to move forward

      • This topic was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by WebAdmin.
    • #2681
       musenphotos
      Participant

      Hi! First of all I would like to start the mentoring on 1/8/2018.

      Answers to your questions:

      1 – Attract the ideal clients who would value my work. I feel that I am being blocked from them. Don’t know where to reach them. People who contacted me like my work but not willing to pay for the price I ask for. I have a high inquiry rate but low booking rate. I want to be able to convert all inquiries into happy bookings.

      2 – To establish a stronger brand image and a more defined, distinct and consistent style (when they see my images they know it is me). Right now I feel that it is still all over the places.

      3 – Be able to take less sessions yet earning more, able to have breakthrough in my style and techniques and win a few awards and/or have my work featured in a few reputable blog

      4 – This is just a part time business. My full time job is an engineering manager which I also love and won’t give up. Although I don’t rely this photography business for a living, my personality just won’t let me treat it as a hobby. It needs to be done right. And b/c it is part time, it needs to be even more efficient.

      5 – I run a mobile studio concept. I either set things up at client’s houses or shoot outdoor. It actually is one of my most known niche and I have been invited by local photographer clubs to give out speech on how to run a mobiles studio efficiently.

    • #2813
       Ana Brandt
      Keymaster

      Got it – I will respond back on January 8th to begin!

    • #3450
       Ana Brandt
      Keymaster

      HI there

      Ok a few more questions.

      I know you want to keep your day job, but how much time do you really have for photography?

      What is your website?

      Is your pricing on your site? If not where can I see it?

      How are you obtaining clients now? And do you feel you working full time prohibits booking?

      We are starting now…I will check in for your answers and we will keep proceeding so I can give you some action items.

    • #3454
       musenphotos
      Participant

      Hi Ana! Thanks! And Happy New Year!

      First of all my website is: https://musenphotos.com/

      My pricing is on there. You can click into each of the category under “Shop”.  I am not charging a lot but people still complain that I am too expensive. That is the number 1 reason for not continuing with me after first interaction.

      Last year I took 48 sessions including my end of year mini sessions. On average I would say 2 to 3 sessions a month but usually a bit slow Jan and Feb then slowly pick up throughout the year. Fall and Holidays seasons are the busiest.

      On average I spend about 2 to 3 hours a day on photography related tasks.

      I am mostly obtaining clients through word of mouth. I started by offering close friends and neighbors free or discounted sessions and if they like me they refer their friends to me. I had a referral program but only two of my clients actively referring people to me. One client’s referrals pretty much all told me I am too expensive for them. Only one booked a winter mini session. The rest not only told me I am expensive, some went ugly on me. The other referral is working well so far. I got 2 full session bookings through her and they pay me well with tips and print orders, etc. I have several good clients that keep returning and willing to pay me good price. I also got booking through people finding me online by googling and through Instagram but they don’t come back as returned customers. After one session it is over. Even if I try to reconnect with them, they ignore me.

      Look forward to the action items. Thanks, Karen

    • #3455
       Ana Brandt
      Keymaster

      Am I missing something? When I go to your website I can’t find any specific portfolio galleries in the menu?

      Your site almost looks like an informational magazine, rather than a Photography site.

      So we might need to start re-working your site. Can you point me to specific galleries?

    • #3456
       musenphotos
      Participant

      Yes I agree I need to work on a gallery. I just switched from wix to wordpress and with the themes and everything I couldn’t figure out how to do a gallery. I figure out how to put a gallery on a page but not on the main page yet.

      Here is one example of a page:

      Sequoia – the ultimate on location package

    • #3483
       musenphotos
      Participant

      Morning! I spent sometime researching and I think I figure out how to add a gallery to the home page. What would you be good pictures to add to the home page gallery? Thanks!

    • #3554
       musenphotos
      Participant

      Hi Ana, hope all is well. There was issue with the forum yesterday my account was set to be expired. I reported it to the support team now it is back to active. I went to your website and got an idea how a Photographer’s website should look like and did some changes of my own. It is not perfect as I am still trying to learn how wordpress theme works. What other action items you would assign me? I try to take full advantage of this 1:1 private mentoring forum. We only have 30 days. 🙂 Thanks! Karen

    • #3555
       Ana Brandt
      Keymaster

      HI in session all morning – I will be on line later today!

    • #3605
       Ana Brandt
      Keymaster

      OK a few things…

       

      1 – I am confused as to where I find your photos to use for portfolio galleries

      2. – is this website a wordpress site now?

      3 – your website gives me a headache to be honest – its information overload. Your PPA image is AWESOME and should be on an about me page and gorgeous full page. There is just way too much informatio on the home page and on ever page. You need to scale it down and make it look more like a website about your work. It should be clean and a bit more minmal and your images need to pop.

      When someone is going to your site they need  to see you and your work as WOW. You are doing so many things and are all over the place and it shows a bit crazy.

      So first and foremost…

      1 – clean up your site – do a google search on other photography sites you like and send me a few you LOVE and tell me why. It will help see what is the difference with yours and theirs.

      2 – the marketing to friends and family never works. I can tell you story after story of the exact same thing happening to me. My neighbors – who weren’t “friends” all told me I was too expensive even when I was doing free sessions and selling 5x7s for 7.00! They never really used me or referred me in any real way and I learned very quickly to move on. For friends – real friends – I never charge for sessions – ever.

      3 – you need to focus your marketing on NEW clients. New clients that see your work on Instagram and FB and go to your website and book.

       

    • #3606
       Ana Brandt
      Keymaster

      Your Instagram is a mixture…the best posts are just the individual images -try and avoid showing a lot of collages with too many photos. Your instagram should be heavily curated – only the best images to showcase – clean and simple and indicative of your style.

       

       

    • #3607
       Ana Brandt
      Keymaster

      Your FB also the same.

      On your site and social what I see – busy – pretty mess.

      When I dig deep you have great work. But its hard to just look at your work because there is so much to read and so many images. What do you really want to focus on? When I started out I think I looked just the same as you! I shot so many things and did everything. I still do that but my sites are more streamlined and focus. I think I want you to take a step back and look at your sites and social – pretend you are looking for you – are you pregnant? With baby? Child’s party? Would you be able to discern you between the other photographers? I think your clients are confused to. You need to show them how amazing you and your work are.

      So…where are we?

      I want you to spend some time getting inspired.

      Browse the web – Instagram – facebook for sites/ pages that inspire you and make you happy and know that that photographer is successful. What is drawing you to those pages? Do you think you can be inspired to make some changes? We want to draw people into our work and show our best compelling images.

      I want you to put in a folder your 10 favorite images – and send it to me so I can look at them.

       

      😉

      We have lots of work to do but I am feeling very positive because I think its just a few makeovers we need to do to draw in the clients you need!

    • #3608
       musenphotos
      Participant

      Morning Ana! Thanks for your input! Long weekend is coming so I will be working on the homework you assigned me.

      Yes it is a wordpress site. I need to figure out how it works. Perhaps I need to upgrade to the business plan. Right now I am on premium plan and features are so limited.

      Meanwhile I am answering your question on where I wanna be going forward. I have a story to tell and appreciate your patience to read a long message in advance. But I feel that you need to understand where I come from so you can give me better advice.

      I originally started wanting to be a newborn and maternity photographer. I fall in love with your work when I first discovered you on YouTube and I have been following you for a good decade but it is not until I decided to form a real business 2 years ago that I signed up for your in person workshop.

      However I am very discouraged in this path. I followed other photographer’s advice by offering model calls to begin with but even model calls didn’t work out. My first two were both cancelled due to premature birth. Several others got cancelled last minute too. The most dramatic one is the Dad got into a fatal car accident just a week before the baby’s birth. For the past 2 years I only got two paid newborn sessions. I almost got booked for a maternity + newborn package last year but baby arrived before the scheduled maternity session day with heart problems. So this is my luck! For someone who believes in fate so much, perhaps it is just not meant to be.

      At the same time, once people discover I offer photography service, they have been contacting me to take pictures in their houses. Those are mostly Moms with multiple small children at home, like portraits, but find it too overwhelming to take the whole crew to retail or private studios. And they think the kids are too little for outdoors. They didn’t expect too much from me and I was giving them discounted trial prices. But I spent time figuring out what the Moms need so over time with trial-and-errors I figured out a mobile studio system that not only operable for photographers but also appealing to the customers. From equipment, backdrop/props selection, posing, to post editing, I have my own system and produces results just like bring your kids to a retail/private studio. Moms rave about that among themselves and I get more bookings that way. The ones who cannot afford the premium on-location pricing wanting to get family portraits done outdoor. I love outdoor as well. My favorite style is to combine candid portraits with famous landmark (Princeton University, Central Park, etc.) and those are also my most popular post on social media.

      My most popular and profitable series is my end of year holiday/winter mini. I would rent a local studio and introduce my mobile studio concept to clients. Everything I set up there is what people would see when I go to their house.

      One client introduced me to a local photographer club and they loved my concept so I was invited to give a speech about it and they told me it was one of the best rated speeches at the club. Then sister clubs started to contact me to give speech about my mobile studio system. Now I think maybe there is something in that area I could offer to help other photographers but that is a whole different game.

      So having told you all these, going forward I want to position myself as children and family photographer. I want my on-location service to be mainly focusing on small children and baby. And I want my outdoor to be on family with older children, and extended family. I earn a lot on extended family sessions because the print product orders just keep coming from each family.

      My most popular package for baby is cake smash. Maybe it is the pricing. It is the cheapest among the whole 1 year plan. Actually client ended up spending just about the same amount as other packages but because for cake smash I don’t offer too much inclusive service it appears to be cheaper for them. And people love how I could set up a beautiful theme at their house. I also want to push for more 100 days sessions in Asian community but for some reasons many Chinese admire my work but don’t want to pay for it.

      Thanks and I will provide you the website I like and my top 10 all time favorite work over the weekend. 🙂

    • #3637
       musenphotos
      Participant

      Hi Ana! One NJ photographer’s website I really like is this one: https://www.idaliaphotography.com/. If I were to look for a wedding photographer I would totally consider it. They also do newborn. I like how bright and airy the website is and how luxury but warm it feels. It is something I like. I also got the impression the service won’t be cheap but it is expected. I had consulted a web designer before asking if I want my website to be like that how much would it cost. He quoted me almost $2000. It is too much for me to absorb at the present moment. So I decide to take baby steps.

      I found another web designer here is her portfolio and it is not bad. http://www.tracykuhl.com/She is specialized in WordPress so I am considering hiring her. She quoted me $300 for the whole site re-design. It is a price I could afford right now. Meanwhile I am considering hiring a graphic designer to re-brand my image that would attract premium market.

      The entire re-branding budget is $1000. Do you think this make sense? That is how much I could afford right now.

      Attached are 10 of my all time favorite images. It also speaks my intended business strategy going forward. For on-location classic studio style package I want to focus more on baby’s first years and family with small children. And for older demographic I like outdoor but unique and famous outdoor places.

       

    • #3638
       musenphotos
      Participant

      Here are the 10 my all time favorite images. Link for the website I really like is: https://www.idaliaphotography.com/

    • #3672
       Ana Brandt
      Keymaster

      OK so the site is clean and that’s what we need. We need focus.

      My husband and our team can do this for you. I would not spend the money with either person!

      What we can do is get you a new wordpress site that is clean and gorgeous –  I want you to do a search  here and tell me 2 or 3 sites you like. http://www.themeforest.net – its a site we and our programmers use all the time.

      If you find one you like send to me and let me get a quote from my husband/tech team.

      I want to refocus and rebrand you…!!

    • #3677
       musenphotos
      Participant

      Hi Ana,

      Not sure if this is what you want from me but these are the 3 themes I like from that site:

      1. https://themeforest.net/item/bradford-photographer-portfolio-wordpress-theme/11268167?s_rank=1

      2. https://themeforest.net/item/kameron-your-photography-portfolio/7647974?s_rank=13 (I think this is the exact theme the web designer showed me)

      3. https://themeforest.net/item/sceneone-photography-theme-for-wordpress/19591911?s_rank=5

      Among the 3, I like the last one the best.

      Thanks,

      Karen

    • #3685
       Ana Brandt
      Keymaster

      Let me get a quote for you – if they flip your design and clean things up do you know how to update and maintain it?

    • #3717
       musenphotos
      Participant

      Hi Ana, yes I do. Thanks! Karen

    • #3803
       musenphotos
      Participant

      Hi Ana! Thanks for referring me to Geoff for website help. You two are such a charming couple team!

      While Geoff and I are discussing website makeover options, I wonder if we could move on to the next topic that you think could benefit me.

      Thanks,

      Karen

    • #3807
       Ana Brandt
      Keymaster

      I would like to see galleries of your best work in folders so we can start positioning you as the leader in children/family – can you put your best images for children and family in folders so I can view?

    • #3851
       musenphotos
      Participant

      Hi Ana, saw your post about your foot. Wish you a speedy recovery.

      I am not sure how to put pictures in folders here so I created a shareable Dropbox link and you can edit. These are all copies of my pictures so whichever you don’t think I should use for my website portfolio, just delete them. So I know the ones stay in the folder are the ones to use.

      I don’t own a studio. So I either go to people’s house or shoot pictures outdoor. And I also host limited edition mini sessions at local venues. But I do want to separate them into a few categories for marketing purposes.

      I don’t really have a consistent style, or you can say theme based is my style. Each session is designed with a special theme whether it is indoor or outdoor.

      https://www.dropbox.com/sh/g727ayi1tp20bom/AAA9Rav1NO9dAMPNsxgTBW51a?dl=0

      Thanks, Karen

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