Corporate Drag to Creative Success Using Dream Shoots with Alice Prenat
• Things are better done than perfect
• Don’t skip initial steps or you won’t have the confidence to then price yourself properly
• Take the time to choose who you work with
• Keep pushing towards your wildest dreams
Get to Know Alice Prenat
Q: How did you push past fear when building your business?
A: Some months ago I had the amazing chance to do some sky-diving. I don’t know if you have done it, but those few seconds where you are at the door, you feel like you are going to faint, you are sweating more than you thought you could, your heart is about to simply explode…in short, it’s fear at its maximum level. Well, I find that there are so many moments in business when you feel the same way…when you’re about to send that big price proposal, that important email, when you have to pay that big chunk of taxes and you realize (a bit too late) that you have to get better on your cash management. When you are about to shoot the CEO of a major multinational business, when you are about to press ‘publish’ on your new website and new pricing, or entering images in a competition.
So when I am in that kind of situation, I remember my skydive…I count 5 and jump! I press send or publish or whatever, and I do it. Better DONE than PERFECT.
What sky-diving taught me is that after the fear comes the crazy absolute pure joy and the most enjoyable happy tears on earth! I realize that after each fearful moment that I overcame, came some amazing joy and pride of what I have accomplished.
Alice’s First Studio
Q: We document people through portraits. What is your secret to not getting bored with photographing clients?
A: The answer is in the question – when you photograph people, I actually find that you can not get bored! Every single human being on this planet has a different story, experience, energy…it’s endless.
It has happened that before a session, I kind of expect a shoot to unfold a certain way but when the client enters the room, everything changes and I feel so grateful to have the chance to capture that person. When you shoot portraits and if you are interested in people, you actually can not get bored.
“Sue Bryce will give you the wings you need to keep pushing towards your dreams”
Q: How has Sue Bryce Education changed your life for the better?
A: As I am writing this answer I am sitting in my amazing New York studio. That was my wildest of wildest dreams and I would never have believed it to be possible if I had not become part of the Sue Bryce Education adventure. Sue and SBE will give you the wings that you need some mornings to keep pushing towards the crazy dream you have set for yourself. Priceless.
Q: For someone starting out their photography journey what advice would you have for them?
A: It can feel super overwhelming and when you start to hear Sue speaking about sales and marketing, usually it will pump you up so much that you already want to be there. My advice would be to keep things in the right order – the 12 week startup is even built that way. Build a strong portfolio first and be proud of your craft before trying to sell anything. If you skip some initial steps, you won’t have the confidence to then price yourself properly. So of course, don’t create the excuse ‘my portfolio is not good enough’ – don’t skip the folio building phase. I see it now when I market myself, what triggers people’s interest are my images.
Q: How much time do you spend on marketing, content planning, or social media right now?
A: These days, marketing is actually my number one activity actually. A lot offline and of course online as well. Meeting people, networking, creating partnerships, collaborations and then creating content to share on social media, blogs, etc.
Alice’s Portrait Before Joining SBE
Q: Where do you find inspiration for your portraits?
A: The easy source of inspiration used to be Instagram and Pinterest, but I quickly got to the limit of it. So now I open myself and my mind more to get ideas from non-photography sources – street art, paintings, sculptures, people I meet, books I read, etc.
Q: What would a perfect portrait be for you?
A: The perfect portrait is one where you feel something just looking at it. Whatever feeling but a feeling. As Sue says, “expression trumps every other detail. Your image might not be perfectly framed or the posing might break some minor rules but if the expression and emotion are strong on the image – it’s a perfect portrait.”
“Take the time to choose who you work with – they will optimize your business and help build the right foundation for growth.”
Q: Do you regret any decisions you have made in your business?
A: Two decisions. My first one Sue and SBE helped me correct and my second one I am still working on.
Mistake one – low pricing for non-full-time photographers. My first mistake concerns people that still have a full-time job next to growing their photography business. The most common thing to think pricing wise is – Oh, it’s not my main source of income, it’s only a surplus so I won’t actually price high. But then comes the day where you play with the thought of going full-time and a quick calculation makes you realize that those low prices are actually completely unsustainable!
PLEASE, DO YOURSELF A BIG FAVOR (you will hugely thank yourself later), instead of having that thought have this one – ‘It’s not my main source of income so I can price as high as I want and if I don’t get a big number of clients in the first months it’s ok because it’s not yet my main source of income.’ Then market yourself CONSISTENTLY and soon you will be SO excited to have good-paying clients, you can play with the idea to go full time with NO STRESS!
On the market, we are all responsible for prices. All of us. It’s like lawyers. We all know that lawyers are expensive. It’s common knowledge and perception. And they all keep their pricing at a certain level. Photographers should be the same – if we ALL keep proper pricing, then clients will slowly realize that booking a professional photographer is not cheap and we would all live properly from our craft without having 100 sessions a month while burning out.
It’s all our responsibility and you do NO ONE (yourself first) a favor by pricing low. No one.
I am now SUPER, SUPER happy to see photographers in Paris starting to have personal branding shoot at 750€ (that’s my starting price) and when I am not in Paris, I am super happy to refer clients to those photographers.
My second mistake was choosing my accountant in France. Your accountant will be the person that will help you optimize your business and help build the right foundation for growth. I took the first person who was referred to me and that was a mistake. Take the time to choose who you work with.
Q: There are so many parts to running a business – shooting, culling, editing, marketing. What’s your favorite thing to do and do you outsource any of it?
A: I LOVE the marketing part and the shooting part. I guess my marketing background enjoys exploring new ways to speak and share about my business. Shooting and meeting with clients is by far my absolute favorite part. I don’t see the time go, I just love it.
I cull (I don’t overshoot anymore so now that’s less painful as it used to be) and I outsource my editing but I keep the color grading part, as I love it. I am not enjoying sending emails and organizing a schedule so I work with a studio manager who helps me with that.
Q: What does the Sue Bryce Education community mean to you?
A: The SBE community is feeling that you are apart of a big family that supports you when you are down and cheers when you have some wins. Seriously, it’s a safe zone that is priceless.
Q: Where do you see your business in the next 5 years?
A: Exactly where it is now, just bigger and maybe in more cities!
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Alice Prenat of Portrait Madame
Born in France Alice joined the SBE team as an associate photographer in 2016 when she launched her first Paris Studio. Alice achieved the level of Master Photographer in 2018 with The Portrait Masters Awards & Accreditation, and she recently opened her New York studio.
Dedicated exclusively to portrait photography, headshots, and personal branding, Alice Prenat is now based in New York and Paris. She travels between her two favorite cities, and around the world, to photograph clients.