Stand-Out Service from Home with Tina Leu
Episode 122: Tina Leu
Many photographers worry that having their business at home will make them seem less professional. But, Tina Leu shows just how successful having a studio in your home can be.
In Episode 122 of the Portrait System Podcast, Nikki Closser chats with DC-area portrait and personal branding photographer Tina Leu. When Tina left the corporate world unexpectedly, she decided it was time to make use of her photography degree and business minor by going into business for herself. After looking around and seeing that the prices her competition were charging were not sustainable, Tina found Sue Bryce Education and learned how to create the successful structure her business thrives on today.
Tina started shooting headshots in a rented dance studio but soon embraced Sue’s focus on portraiture, as well as the ethos that she could do it from her own home. She makes it work with light-weight furniture that is easy to push to the side, a guest bathroom for wardrobe changes, and her kitchen for makeup. Since Covid, Tina cut down to only shooting portraits one day a week in her home. She does personal branding shoots one day a week as well — offsite. Five years in, Tina is typically booked 2 – 3 months in advance and her current sales average is $5220 for portraits and $2860 for personal branding. She decided pretty early on to make her smallest package be the average she wants to hit anytime she shoots, and she’s quite happy with the result.
Tina’s clients love what she does because she is so thoughtful about making the process special for them. In the beginning, she thought she needed to compensate for being in her living room, but now she knows that what makes her service stand out is the quality of connection and product that she provides. Be sure to listen to the whole podcast to hear how Tina makes her final reveal extra special by dividing it into 3 parts — shoot recap, prints reveal, and wall art reveal. The extra touches she puts in make her clients feel like stars.
You might also be interested to hear how Tina has built boundaries into her time that prioritize her self-care. And, she also talks with Nikki about her campaign, the Skin Series. So far, she has worked with 26 gorgeous women to produce fine art portraits that celebrate being brave and comfortable in your own skin. Some examples from the series are included below.
Here are links to some things mentioned in this conversation:
- Nikki Closser’s Interview with Wedding Photographer Jerry Ghionis
- Music from Caitlin Timmins
- Music from Gerson Lopes
- The Portrait Masters Awards & Accreditation
- WPPI Expo — Wedding and Portrait Photographers International
- Joyce Tenneson at The Portrait Masters Conference 2018
- Avoiding Stress & Burnout with Nikki Closser & Emma Bercusul
In this blog, you’ll find some of Tina’s beautiful portraits, links to her websites, and answers to some bonus questions.
Get to Know Tina Leu
Q: What has been your biggest breakthrough in business?
A: Implementing rest and reflection into my year — in advance. When you’ve worked as an employee to a company, most are given vacation/personal time, and you take time off with little guilt. However, once you work for yourself, you have a greater sense of responsibility for your livelihood, as well as those you support. I felt that taking time off equaled no income, which is true, particularly in a hands-on, service-based industry, like photography. “What if I don’t get hired next month or have a rough patch? I must take on as many shoots as I can!” is what I thought. First of all, that’s a scarcity mindset, and as long as you stay solution-focused, that will be less of an issue.
Then in 2020, it was my biggest year in business. Once we re-opened after a 3-month shut down due to the pandemic, it was full-speed ahead, and I was booked months in advance. That continued through 2021. While incredibly thankful, it definitely took a toll on my health, and I felt I could not give my best to my clients at times, unbeknownst to them.
A practice I’ve set into place is that I block off every 9th week (give or take with holiday alignment) at the beginning of each year. Having those weeks be unavailable ensures that I take time off and rest and enjoy the fruits of my labor of owning this business. I get to catch up with friends, do some self-care, travel, etc. If those weeks hadn’t been blocked off in advance, I’d continue working through them (because I do enjoy working), but overwhelm and stress will undoubtedly catch up to me, and it’ll be perhaps too late by that point. I want to ensure that I’m happy and taken care of to be able to give my best to all my clients. The last thing I want is that my lack of self-care and awareness will result in the detriment of the client experience.
Q: How did you push past fear when building your business?
A: I’ll admit, pricing my work was my first biggest fear when starting this business because I was new to this industry space. Sure, I come from a background in sales in my prior career, but self-doubt was prevalent when it came to selling myself. What I learned was that if you continue to doubt yourself and discount yourself and your pricing to appease the client, you’ll continue to attract clients who will doubt you — and that will lead to a perpetual cycle of more people who will begin to price you based on what they want to pay, not what the value of your work reflects or demands. It came down to practice, practice, practice, practice. The more I sold and served my clients, the more assurance I received from them by way of reviews, thank you notes, and heartfelt gratitude and tears. This helped me gain more confidence knowing that what I offer is valuable and at times, life changing!
Secondly, knowing that there will always be a “No” in the future is what helped me push past fear as well. I just can’t be afraid of the “no,” and I’ve accepted that. When I have consults, meeting with new people out and about, etc., I go in with the understanding that what I offer through my Modern Portrait Experiences and Personal Branding services is not for everyone, and that’s OK. Their hesitancy or rejection is NOT personal, it simply is either an opportunity for more education, or it’s not fulfilling their specific needs/parameters.
Along those lines is the understanding that while you may have served your positively raving client at the highest level for one shoot, it’s OK if they hire another photographer for a different time. There is plenty of work for everyone, and your clients’ needs will change as well. I worked with many clients who hired me for their major rebrand or launch and needed the full service of branding discovery and creative direction, and afterwards hired another photographer for a smaller and simpler refresh some time later. In fact, I’m friends with many photographers in my area who I am happy to refer to and recommend if I’m not able to meet the client’s needs. In the beginning, it hurt, but I changed my perspective to reflect that there’s a photographer for every client out there, and my past and future clients come to me because they wish to achieve a desired result and trust me to deliver.
Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment since starting Sue Bryce Education?
A: It’s not glamorous, but I implemented systems that ensure an enjoyable and stress-free client experience AND give me peace of mind that I’m not forgetting anything. I love organization and predictability!
Following all the guidance and education from Sue Bryce in The Portrait System, I was able to create repeatable steps that allow my clients to have the best experience from beginning to end — a seamless process. I took my strength of organization in my prior corporate career and redirected it toward a sustainable business model to implement with each client. This ensures every person receives the same great service, and it eliminates the risk of forgetting to do one step or missing a key communication with them.
I’m able to anticipate and fulfill the needs that they may not even have known they had! Ultimately, creating a great customer service experience is my biggest accomplishment. Without it, I wouldn’t have a thriving business that continues to serve repeat and referred clients I’ve been fortunate to photograph.
Q: For someone starting out on their photography journey what advice would you have for them?
A: Master one skill at a time and build on top of that from there. Go through the videos in TPS one at a time. Finish that tutorial or workshop you purchased before you invest in another one. Practice what you’ve learned. Then move forward from there.
Don’t be afraid to fail and try various methods one at a time. Brace yourself because you’ll fail quite a few times in your journey! The important thing when failing is to learn something from it, which helps you grow and mold who you’ll become as an artist, business owner, and community member in your area. You won’t know what you love (from who you wish to serve to what genre to shoot) or prefer (like business practices and communication style) unless you try different methods and techniques. Stick to what resonates and feels right to YOU after learning best practices from all the amazing resources available in The Portrait System and its community, for instance.
Q: Do you regret any decisions you have made in your business?
A: A big learning opportunity was to not buy all the gear and gadgets just because an educator or someone at a workshop, blog, or video was using them to create the results they achieved. Early on when I started learning off-camera flash, I read so many articles on recommended modifiers and lights that I bought many items (and wasted a lot of money I frankly didn’t have) that hardly were ever used because I still didn’t quite understand HOW to use them (and some were for advanced pros). They are still collecting dust in a closet!
It’s important to understand that just because someone is using [insert any] gear to create their work, doesn’t mean you’re able to replicate the same work. There is SO much more that goes into creating imagery and it takes consistent practice and intangible qualities, like vision, curiosity, and determination to keep trying. The best thing I could have done, with regard to this topic, is learn the basics and build on top of that, step-by-step, as soon as I mastered a skill. Now with a greater understanding of light, after taking my own advice here later in my journey, I really only need one modifier and one light to create beautiful work that resonates with me and my clients.
Subscribe to The Podcast
Skin Series: Website
FULL TRANSCRIPT: Please note this transcript was generated by AI and may contain errors.
00:00:00:02 – 00:00:02:08
You’re listening to the Portrait System podcast.
00:00:02:21 – 00:00:23:09
So I thought, I need to do all the things in order to kind of justify the price by shooting in an apartment. But it really, really came down to the experience that you provide because people think once they come in here now, I mean, it’s taken a while to get here, right? But now when folks walk in here, they kind of forget it’s the living quarters.
00:00:25:16 – 00:01:02:05
Welcome to the Portrait System podcast. I’m your host, Nikki Closser, and this show is here to help you succeed in the world of photography and business, to help you learn to become financially free, doing what you love and so much more. With over 1 million downloads, countless photographers have taken what they’ve learned from both our episodes and from ThePortraitSystem.com. And they have grown their businesses, quit their day jobs and are designing a life of their dreams. We keep it real and share stories about the ups and downs that come with running a photography business. You’ll hear real life stories of how other photographers run their business, and you’ll learn actionable steps that you can take to reach your own goals.
00:01:02:13 – 00:01:36:18
Thank you so much for being here. And let’s get started. My guest today is Tina Leu. And Tina is a total go getter who started her photography business only five years ago. When Tina was laid off from her corporate job. She was freaking out a bit because she had dedicated so much of her loyalty and life to the company. But being as driven as she is, she decided she was going to dive into photography and she started doing photoshoots in her apartment. From there, it led to a successful business, including what she calls her Skin series. She does printed photo viewings, and Tina elevates the client’s experience even though she’s in her apartment.
00:01:36:27 – 00:01:44:02
She is definitely an inspiration. And let’s get started with Tina Leu. Tina Leu, welcome to the portrait system. How are you?
00:01:44:12 – 00:01:47:22
Wonderful. I am so excited to be here.
00:01:47:24 – 00:02:03:19
Thank you. I’m so happy to have you here. Your energy is just so great. And, yeah, this is going to be fun. Okay, so you had mentioned when we were just doing like we were chatting before we started recording and you had mentioned you are a little nervous because English is not your first language.
00:02:04:02 – 00:02:18:08
Yes, I am currently sweating bullets right now and we haven’t even started. I grew up in Germany. I was born and raised there and it wasn’t because it was a military background, it was just my parents had a Chinese restaurant in Germany.
00:02:18:23 – 00:02:20:24
Oh, wow. That’s really interesting.
00:02:20:26 – 00:02:56:23
Yeah. And they were really busy with their business and they needed someone to take care of me. So they had a young German girl kind of basically be my nanny, and she quickly became like my second mother. And when she when I was six years old, she met an American who was stationed there for the army. They fell in love, married, moved here to the United States. And I was able to visit them here every summer until I was ten. And then my mom thought it’d be best for me to just move here and be adopted by them because America has greater opportunities and things like that.
00:02:57:01 – 00:03:02:16
Wow. So that is the quick and dirty of it all. How I have like landed in the United States.
00:03:02:22 – 00:03:05:14
Wow. That’s a pretty remarkable story.
00:03:05:23 – 00:03:14:29
It’s a very unique adoption story. And I’m very grateful that I have a I still have a relationship with my birth family in Germany and in Taiwan.
00:03:15:08 – 00:03:41:24
Wow. Holy cow. Okay. As far as, you know, speaking English goes, first of all, you sound absolutely incredible. Thank you. I mean, your English is amazing. And second, it always like you’re not the first person to say that, that they’re worried because English, it maybe might not be their, you know, first language that they learned or whatever. But oh, my gosh, to even be bilingual or trilingual or anything is so amazing to me.
00:03:42:16 – 00:03:56:04
Well, being on the podcast just reminds me of the time when I had my first presentation in English in fifth grade, and it was about the Statue of Liberty. And I was so afraid that I would stumble over my words and that the kids would make fun of me.
00:03:56:06 – 00:04:03:11
And so any time I do, it was scary and hard. All kids can be. So gosh, did it go okay?
00:04:04:00 – 00:04:31:19
I think it went well. I will say there’s a funny story and there’s a slow, random, but I remember that there was a guy that I thought was cute and I told my mom who was picking me up like in German, I was telling her like, I think this guy is cute. And she said, Oh yeah, he is cute. You should tell him. So I went up to him and in English I said, I think you are pretty. And then all the kids laughed at me because they were like, Girls are pretty, boys are handsome. And I was like, Oh, I really messed up the.
00:04:32:16 – 00:05:00:20
masculine and feminine words. Good for you for trying. English was a hard, hard language to learn. It really is. And I just give up. I just always feel so humbled when hearing like I think I said this to to a person before because when I was interviewing Gerson, he Portuguese is his first native language and I’m like, Gerson, I took Spanish for three years in high school. I like I can’t retain anything. The fact that you guys it’s just I love it anyway. So hopefully you’re not nervous. No one will be laughing.
00:05:02:12 – 00:05:33:15
Positive environment. Thank you. Okay, so let’s get started. On your whole journey, I was really inspired. You have made a post in the Facebook group in our Portrait System Facebook group for members, and I was reading through it and you’re kind of giving your timeline of the business. And I was like, Wow, like you are very motivated and have done so much in a short amount of time. And so, you know, I always have to vet our guests and I’m looking at your website and just doing some research. I’m like, Wow, you are just absolutely killing it. And it hasn’t been that long.
00:05:34:18 – 00:06:05:28
No. It’s been five and a half years, and I’m coming from a corporate background. So everything I do kind of is measured by some goal or metric or whatnot. And in order for me to measure my own success, I love to make sure I note when I hit certain milestones or when I did the first time I did something like made a sale or the first time someone from Google found me. And that was like blowing my mind at the time when I first started.
00:06:06:11 – 00:06:19:15
And so I just like being able to like look back at those times and it just makes me smile and it and I’m very, was very happy to share that in the group because I think it’s important for people to also remember there are lots of little steps that gets you to where you are now.
00:06:19:22 – 00:06:39:21
I love that you pay attention to this, Tina, because not everyone does. I think sometimes we forget. And actually Jerry Ghionis and I spoke about this in his interview where it’s like we forget to give ourselves a pat on the back and to really, truly look at where we’ve come from. And and like you said, all those little steps in between we forget to give ourselves credit for. I love that you do that.
00:06:40:02 – 00:06:40:24
00:06:40:26 – 00:06:45:08
Yeah. So you said you came from a corporate background. Let us let us know a little bit more about that.
00:06:45:22 – 00:07:10:19
I’ve only had two jobs my entire life, and that was BestBuy for six years and then Verizon for ten years. And so I’m a lifer. If I’m going to work somewhere, I don’t bounce around. I like to really be invested. And so my last stand was working in corporate for ten years, and I was just working up the ranks from customer service rep at a kiosk in BJ’s warehouse.
00:07:11:05 – 00:07:11:20
00:07:11:22 – 00:07:37:27
Then to regional management, managing several stores and through marketing and employee development. And then unfortunately and I love my job I was bleeding that the company culture and everything but when as corporations get bought out or they have new leadership coming in, they want to change things up. And unfortunately I was at the end of layoffs, so.
00:07:38:20 – 00:07:39:10
I was laid off.
00:07:39:12 – 00:08:11:07
In September 2016. I was devastated. I cried in front of my team that I was managing. And I just I felt betrayed because I was I, I put so much into the company. I really it was a culture that I loved and I had built. And so at the time, I really felt lost. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I didn’t want to work for another competitor in the same industry space. And yeah, it took me a minute to think about what I wanted to do next.
00:08:11:24 – 00:08:24:05
Yeah, I mean, that’s like, especially, like you said, where you’re very loyal to a company that you work for. You spend ten years working your way up. That’s kind of part like a huge part of your identity at that point. And it’s like, okay, now it’s gone. Good luck.
00:08:24:22 – 00:08:29:10
Yeah, it was all through my twenties and that’s when a lot of times when you find yourself in a way, right?
00:08:29:12 – 00:08:32:20
Yeah. So then what did you do at that point?
00:08:33:02 – 00:09:07:06
So I took my nice severance and decided to just kind of rest and see what I want to do. So I did get my degree in photography and a four year college and getting a degree in fine arts and you don’t really learn the business side of things. It’s really more the artful side, learning more the alternative processes of the dark room and things like that. And I did minor in business because my parents were like, What are you going to do with a photography degree?
00:09:09:07 – 00:09:40:18
So I’ve got my minor in business and that helped a little bit. But does it really end up helping me in the business that I’m running now? Maybe not so much. It was really what everything I learned now in my business is really came from trial and error learning from the Portrait System and my corporate background. But to answer your question of what I did next is because I had my degree in photography and towards the end of my corporate career, I actually took headshots of the executives because I had the skill of photography.
00:09:41:03 – 00:10:08:14
I wasn’t paid for it. I just had the skill as an employee for the company that I just took their head shots and I really enjoyed it. And so I thought, well, how about I go into headshot photography? And what a lot of people do when they start a photography business or any business for that matter, is they look around the competition around you and see what they charge and base your pricing off of that. And I quickly realized that that’s not very profitable.
00:10:08:16 – 00:10:11:22
Because I know I was going to say, what was that and how did that go?
00:10:12:13 – 00:10:44:29
It was not good. I don’t even remember, but I think it was definitely sub $100 I think for a shoot. And the thing is that the people around me had studios so people could go in there randomly and get their headshots done. I don’t have that studio space. I was in my apartment. I was living in an apartment. I still do. And I just. Didn’t want rain of people coming into my apartment to shoot headshots. So not long after I actually discovered Sue Bryce and I remembered Sue Brice through Creative Live and In Bed with Sue.
00:10:45:06 – 00:11:00:18
And then I think she she then launched Sue bryce Education and that’s how I got really into the community. And so I really learned about portraiture and all that good stuff and really delved into that more versus headshots.
00:11:01:05 – 00:11:14:08
Okay. Gotcha. So, I mean, I do have to say that’s that’s kind of nice that you had a severance package, like as hard as it is to, you know, be laid off and all of that. It’s nice that you had that just kind of security blanket a little bit, I think.
00:11:14:18 – 00:11:15:29
Yeah, it definitely was a cushion.
00:11:16:03 – 00:11:30:09
Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So you decided you were going to try out headshots, weren’t charging very much. You learned about Sue Bryce and decided you were going to go forth with that and you said you were shooting in your apartment before, but you still shoot in your apartment, right?
00:11:30:18 – 00:12:06:25
I still shoot at my apartment. And at the time, I will say when I first started, I wasn’t even thinking about shooting in my apartment. And so Sue Bryce came into the picture. My friend had a dance studio and a lot of my youth years I spent in dance crews like hip hop dance crews, I competed a lot. And so I had a lot of friends in the dance world and I thought, Oh, I could also provide them with headshots and with my friend having the dance studio. She had this beautiful space right by the window where I could use that space rent it every now and then for headshots.
00:12:06:27 – 00:12:25:07
And so I did that first and it was fine, but it was just hard to find a schedule that would work for all of us kind of thing. Yeah. Yeah. So I started there and then, like I said, with the Sue Bryce Education, I was like, I can do this out of my home.
00:12:26:00 – 00:12:48:07
Yeah, isn’t that awesome? Because you really just don’t need a lot of space. I started in my house to my rent on the house. We rent it. It was really a duplex. Mm hmm. Yeah. It’s just like you just really need a corner and some good light, and you can either make the light or use a window light. You really just don’t need a whole lot. All right. I love that. So tell us, just what is your business comprised of now? What do you mostly shoot?
00:12:48:20 – 00:12:55:29
I mostly shoot portraiture, women’s portraiture, My Skin series, which is my campaign and personal branding.
00:12:56:15 – 00:13:03:16
All right. Okay. Because I was looking at your Instagram and I can see I can see all of those happening. I see quite a bit of maternity too. Is that is that you shoot a lot of that.
00:13:03:24 – 00:13:05:27
Yeah, I would lump that into my portraiture.
00:13:06:04 – 00:13:15:28
Okay. That’s what I figured. But just. Sure. Okay. So you decided you’re going to shoot in your apartment and then did you already have a portfolio built at that point? Did you still need to do that? Like, how did that work?
00:13:16:24 – 00:13:49:00
Oh, it took me a long time, actually, to see if I wanted to focus on portraiture. I was really into fashion and wanting to shoot fitness. And when I implemented everything I learned from Sue Bryce, I did do a senior shoot, and that was like the first time I actually sold my new pricing, even though I discounted a lot because I was like, someone would pay over $2,000 for photos? So I like gave them a break and I was like, Oh, how about we just do it for 1500?
00:13:50:05 – 00:13:54:06
And I simply did the same thing. Yeah, I think all of us go through it at some point.
00:13:54:24 – 00:14:33:17
There was a time I’m trying to think of my timeline honestly, because I was working at a part time job because I still need an income. Even though I had the severance that was severance wasn’t going to last forever. So I decided to take a job part time at a local clothing boutique downstairs in my neighborhood, and through them they allowed me to maybe borrow some clothes for shoots. I asked another boutique if I could borrow clothes for shoots, and there was it was all more on a collab basis because I wanted to do more fashion photography, but that also doesn’t really pay well, especially in the area that I’m in.
00:14:33:19 – 00:14:36:11
It’s not like I’m living in L.A. or New York or whatnot.
00:14:36:22 – 00:14:37:07
00:14:37:29 – 00:14:44:27
I live in just outside of Washington, D.C.. Okay. So it’s metropolitan, but it’s government then fashion.
00:14:46:00 – 00:14:50:13
All right. So, yeah, so you’re realizing fashion probably isn’t going to pay the bills?
00:14:50:19 – 00:15:21:16
No, but fashion did bring me to finding makeup artists. So when it was time to find makeup artists, I found this. I was invited to attend a fashion show that was held locally and I was like, okay, great, this is what I’m going to find all my makeup artists or make connections in the fashion industry world. And like I said, fashion didn’t pan out to anything, but I made connections with the makeup artists and was able to pull from that for any type of photography I needed to do. So that was really great.
00:15:22:07 – 00:15:46:28
Yeah, that’s awesome. Sometimes it’s not necessarily about finding the client, it’s about finding the connection. It truly is. And so, yeah, I love that. All right. So you said. The first shoot you had where you were actually charging kind of industry standard sustainable prices, was that was that senior shoot. Now, tell us a little bit about your pricing then and then how you’ve evolved it.
00:15:47:08 – 00:16:13:05
I believe my pricing then was six images for a 900. And then it was, I believe, 1200 for 12 maybe. I don’t really actually recall as much, but I know that they wanted all the images and it was going to be like 2000. And I said, okay. And the father came in with cash and he like, well, I only have 1500 dollars in cash. And I was like, I’ll take it.
00:16:14:07 – 00:16:15:05
Done and done.
00:16:16:26 – 00:16:22:26
I was too nervous to haggle or anything like that. I was just thrilled that someone would pay over $1,000 for photos.
00:16:23:06 – 00:16:31:00
Yeah, totally. All right. So then because you have a higher sales average now. Yes. Tell us about that.
00:16:31:16 – 00:16:44:22
My sales average for portraits is 5220. My sales average for personal branding is 2860, and that’s last year’s prices because my pricing has changed for that. And yeah.
00:16:45:06 – 00:16:56:00
That’s awesome. So fantastic. Now how did you get up to that amount? Did you just go from you know, because I think you said 2000 was your highest factors and then did you just jump it up to 5000 right away?
00:16:56:17 – 00:17:16:02
No. Every year I increased my pricing and I actually want to do less of that. I don’t want to increase my pricing every year. I want to have it at a price where I’m really happy to have it for a little bit more time because I want to shoot. I really enjoy shooting repeat clients and not having to change it up on them all the time.
00:17:16:04 – 00:17:16:19
00:17:16:21 – 00:17:30:22
And also have set my pricing with a future in mind where I could use that money towards a future studio or whatever without having to increase my pricing again once I get a studio.
00:17:31:03 – 00:17:51:17
Yeah. Let’s talk a little bit more about your home studio, because I think this really is a pain point for some people where they don’t have a studio, they don’t have the extra money to spend on a studio, or they just don’t want to spend that extra money. And they feel like maybe it’s not professional or big enough or, you know, whatever. So tell us a little bit about how that works, shooting at your house.
00:17:52:05 – 00:18:16:00
When I first started shooting in my home, I thought I had to show all the bells and whistles because I also thought, I think no one could possibly think this is a luxurious experience being here in an apartment. So I had laid out almost like a buffet of food. I had all the drinks. I went to a bakery, had like little pastries laid out. No one ate this stuff. Nikki Oh.
00:18:16:02 – 00:18:34:13
Same. Tina I cannot tell you how many times I went and got, like, cheese and crackers and strawberries and, you know, all the things. And I was the only one eating it. Me and my makeup artist, we would eat it and I’m like, What is wrong with these? Like, why is no one eating this food? I just didn’t understand. And anyway, so I just stopped doing it.
00:18:34:21 – 00:18:40:23
Me too. And I’m saving money because I wasn’t also eating it myself either. I don’t need a whole fruit platter every time.
00:18:41:06 – 00:18:42:20
I do a shoot. Yeah, for myself.
00:18:43:21 – 00:19:13:25
So I guess that’s so I thought I needed to do all the things in order to kind of justify the price by shooting in an apartment. But it really, really came down to the experience that you provide because people think once they come in here now, I mean, it’s taken a while to get here, right? But now when folks walk in here, they kind of forget it’s the living quarters. I mean, I buy furniture that is very movable. It’s IKEA. I have my TV stand on coasters, so I just slide that down.
00:19:14:07 – 00:19:46:00
My couch gets tipped over 90 degrees to the corner. It’s really clear as off my living room area because that’s where I shoot. It’s my living room. It’s 12 by 16, I guess that’s 192 square feet and it has a large wall of windows. So I get a lot of natural light, although I don’t really shoot with natural light these days anymore. It’s all just my one light strobe. But if I had the option to do both right and the kitchen is where they get their hair and makeup done. So I move my island to the wall and just really clear out the space.
00:19:46:02 – 00:19:51:08
I have a clothing rack so they don’t see into the kitchen sink.
00:19:51:15 – 00:19:52:00
00:19:53:12 – 00:20:08:12
And you know, you light a candle, they have their separate bathrooms. So thankfully I do have two bathrooms. I have our main master bathroom and then I have a guest bathroom. And that’s where they can do their changes and, you know, use the restroom and whatnot without having my personal items in there.
00:20:08:23 – 00:20:12:15
All right. That’s pretty cool. Now, do you live by yourself?
00:20:12:26 – 00:20:14:01
I live with my boyfriend.
00:20:14:06 – 00:20:27:12
Okay. Sorry. I know that’s a personal question, but I think there are some people out there thinking like, oh, how am I going to keep it clean? Or like, you know, just toys everywhere or, you know, or like pets and all of that. So I was just curious.
00:20:27:14 – 00:20:58:13
If oh my gosh, Nikki, I have a whole thing about that. So I shoot in my home studio, right, very regularly. And then because COVID happened, my boyfriend, he’s a teacher. And so when he had to teach from home for almost a whole year, maybe more, he was then in the living room teaching. And then every time I have a shoot, I had to basically kick him out and he had to go to Starbucks and whatnot to do work. But that’s also hard because they play music and the kids can’t hear him. But he said, Tina, there’s got to be a better way.
00:20:58:15 – 00:21:23:17
I can’t go out of the house every time you do a photo shoot. And I said, okay, how about we I limit the amount of shoots I have because one it’s covid times. I don’t want to have a ton of people coming in and out of the house. So I said, How about I just shoot twice a week? The one time of the week would be in here studio, and then the second time I shoot for the week is branding, like offsite lifestyle branding outside on set.
00:21:24:01 – 00:21:24:16
00:21:24:21 – 00:21:47:13
And that way you only have to leave once and it was a lot more manageable time wise. And because every time right before shoot, I mean, every time after shoot, we cleaned the whole place. Like it gets vacuumed again. All the counters get wiped. Clorox bathroom tip top to bottom and then before shoot, same thing. We clean it all again. So the house is always very clean because of that.
00:21:47:18 – 00:22:16:05
It’s kind of a clean house, that’s for sure. Yes. Yeah. I like how you make this work, though, because you’re creating boundaries around it. It’s not just like an open door policy and it’s kind of nice too, because then you create boundaries around when you’re going to shoot, you know, like I remember filling up my calendar, even though I would write on my calendar, do not work on specific days, and I’d be like, Oh yeah, I can shoot that day. And then I would never. It was just overbooking and never giving myself enough time to not work. And I became a workaholic because I didn’t have any boundaries when I first started.
00:22:16:10 – 00:22:48:25
Right. So that actually I’m even though it’s now past COVID times of that immediate area, I have kept with that schedule. So I still now only shoot twice a week and it gives me a predictable schedule. I now know when I have openings for a branding shoot and when I have openings for portrait shoot, which then leads me to be booked out further. And it’s consistent business because I’m not trying to fit people into any open space.
00:22:48:27 – 00:22:54:27
Yeah, yeah. This is so good. So good. And then how far typically are you booked out?
00:22:55:14 – 00:22:58:10
I typically book out 2 to 3 months in advance.
00:22:58:15 – 00:23:16:04
Okay, that’s great. I think another thing is I think people worry that if they say, oh, well, I’m not available for a couple of months out, that people will just go somewhere else when typically that’s not the case. I mean, if someone is on a serious time crunch, okay, yeah, they might. But I think nine out of ten times, you know, they’re willing to wait.
00:23:16:22 – 00:23:51:15
I have the experience of what you just said, that people are willing to wait or they understand that they have to wait. And fact, I have it in my contact form on my website that we are currently fully booked through X month. That way they know already from the get go when they contact me and flat out that I don’t have availability before then if I have an ability by the time we have a consult call, sure. Great. Then they can take that spot. But I just like to let them know in advance and to set that expectation that I’m not available if it’s an immediate job that they need.
00:23:51:27 – 00:24:25:06
Yeah, yeah. I like your website in general. You’re very specific and you’re very open with the information. You can see the process like you say right on there. What the average spend is. I was looking at the your like personal branding headshots type thing and you say on there like what people often spend is 3000, whatever. I can’t remember what it was. And it’s like you put it out there and I think it’s great. I think people aren’t leaving your website wondering, you know, what your work looks like or how you’re your or you know, you kind of answer all of those questions right then and there.
00:24:25:13 – 00:24:28:05
And it’s all very beautifully shown.
00:24:28:27 – 00:24:31:07
Thank you. I just don’t like wasting time.
00:24:31:24 – 00:25:04:17
Me too. Yeah. And you can see that. And I think I think your clients will appreciate that I’m that type of consumer. Like, I just want to know if the information I don’t want to call you and want talk to you. Like, just tell me like just where can I find the information? Like, so I am as a consumer, so I appreciate when other people are like that and not everyone has to do it that way. There are people where their strategy specifically is that they they need to get them on the phone, in person, you know, whatever that looks like, because that’s when they do their best selling and that’s how they get clients in the door.
00:25:04:19 – 00:25:13:02
And that’s great too. Like, there’s not just one way to do it, but I personally like to do it kind of the way you do where it’s like, this is this is what’s happening.
00:25:13:04 – 00:25:37:06
So to your point, that’s because that’s how I operate as a consumer too. I want to know at least ballpark where the starting rate is for anything that I purchase and invest in. And that same thing goes where you sell what you show, kind of say so like sell what you also love. And so you have to think about yourself and what your kind of motive factor is kind of thing. And then just based off of that.
00:25:37:22 – 00:25:43:15
Yeah, well, let’s talk a little bit about your pricing in your packages. Let’s start with portraiture. What does that look like?
00:25:44:00 – 00:26:05:15
So my session fee is 890 and it includes the pre consultation, the professional makeup and hair, the guided photoshoot and the ordering appointment images are sold separately and I do offer a $300 off the session fee towards a collection if they pre-purchase.
00:26:06:09 – 00:26:09:08
All right. So then tell us about those collections.
00:26:09:24 – 00:26:20:28
My collections now are my smallest is 15 portraits for 3490, then 20 portraits for 4190 and 25 portraits at 4790.
00:26:21:18 – 00:26:25:24
Wow, that’s great. Like, that’s a big it’s a big sales art. Like, that’s awesome.
00:26:26:07 – 00:26:50:07
And the way I’ve done that is because I used to have a six or eight image collection. No one end up really going with that. So I got rid of it and also. So anytime I did, maybe I just wasn’t feeling that great. I was like, I want to buy more. I want one. I want them to have more images of themselves. And of course I want to hit my average. So now my smallest collection is the average that I want to hit minimum. Any time I do a shoot.
00:26:50:14 – 00:27:00:26
That’s fantastic. All right. So what is included in those packages? I know that you said that they get the images, but what is it, print, physical prints or just digitals? Both.
00:27:01:09 – 00:27:11:03
Yes. So the collections that are 15, 20 and 25 quantity, they’re all in the reveal box as five by seven that it prints in an eight by ten that.
00:27:11:13 – 00:27:14:15
All right tell people what to reveal boxes for those who might not know.
00:27:14:28 – 00:27:33:24
So the reveal box is a a box that has the lid is Plexiglas. So you can see through it. And what I love about it is because clients can change the front image to whatever flavor the week they want. Yes. So it acts as a frame and keeps all their prints nice and safe and dust free.
00:27:34:03 – 00:27:42:01
Yeah. Awesome. Is that from graphi studio? It is, yeah. They have such good, amazing quality. It’s just amazing quality stuff for sure.
00:27:42:15 – 00:27:45:13
And they receive their matching digital files with that as well.
00:27:45:19 – 00:27:56:02
Okay, cool. Awesome. All right. So do you do you know when you do a sales sales process, are they coming back to your apartment or where how are you doing that?
00:27:57:02 – 00:28:19:08
So we do a shoot and then before they leave, we set up a pre reveal zoom appointment right there on the counter so we don’t have to follow up again. And within a week we all see each other again online. And that gives me time to narrow down their images. Because, Nikki, I am an over shooter. I shoot about 2000 images a session. It’s a.
00:28:19:10 – 00:28:32:05
Two thousand? Yeah. Tina Sue has called me, and we’re like, yeah, we need to work on that girlfriend. I see. Oh, I shoot. Like, if I go over 120, I’m like, in anxiety panic mode.
00:28:33:19 – 00:28:35:17
Yeah, it’s, it’s it’s a little much.
00:28:35:20 – 00:28:53:23
But do you use programs like filter pixel. I recently have discovered and learn how to it is amazing. Like it goes through and automatically takes out any blinking or blurry eyes or autofocus anything and it like narrows it all down for you. It’s brilliant. Have you ever used do you use anything like that? I’m just thinking 2000 images like.
00:28:53:25 – 00:29:08:26
No. But the reason I shoot so much is because I shoot through trying to get the right expression. So they may be in the same pose. And I’m just flicking through because that one time that they give me that expression, it’s like I nailed it.
00:29:09:01 – 00:29:09:16
00:29:09:21 – 00:29:14:01
And I might like an expression more than they do of their own self.
00:29:14:05 – 00:29:15:00
00:29:15:02 – 00:29:37:23
I like the semi smile, but they don’t like that. So what I do a lot of times when I narrow down the images to them, I still show them between a hundred or 200 images for the zoom reveal. And I tell them, I let them know. You’ll see a lot of images in the same pose. However, your expression may be different. And so I want you to make the decision of which expression you prefer in that pose, for instance.
00:29:37:26 – 00:29:38:11
00:29:38:13 – 00:29:51:04
I like may not be what you like. And that’s why another reason why I went away from printed reveals why narrowed it down hard to 20 images to show them because they know themselves best and they’re the ones that are living with these images.
00:29:51:16 – 00:29:52:01
00:29:52:08 – 00:29:55:11
I tend to keep in more than normal.
00:29:55:22 – 00:30:31:27
Yeah. I can not remember who this was, but there was a wedding photographer where their strategy was to literally hit the shutter at every moment of the entire wedding day. They would shoot like 10,000 images or something per wedding because it was exactly what you said they wanted that those like in between expression moments. So. I mean, I was like, oh my gosh, that’s like stresses me out so much. But they were able to get the most amazing killer shots that when a lot of us put our camera down because we think the moments over their camera was between them and their second shooter, the camera would still be up getting those in-betweens.
00:30:32:13 – 00:30:40:08
So it is an interesting it’s an interesting concept. And as a way to get those, like like you said, the exact expression or the exact moment that you want.
00:30:40:23 – 00:30:43:27
Yeah. And that’s exactly that’s basically why I do it.
00:30:44:06 – 00:30:44:21
00:30:44:23 – 00:31:10:22
So we have our zoom reveal and that’s when I show them the narrowed down images of the best that we’ve shot. And that can be anywhere from 100 to 200. And we go through multiple rounds of yes, no, maybe until we get down to the batch of images that they either pre-purchased already or decide to upgrade and just pay the difference. And that’s also the time when we select the wall art. So that’s another reason why my average is high, because I sell a lot of wall art now.
00:31:11:11 – 00:31:24:02
That’s great. That’s great. Okay, give us an idea of what your wall art even if you just want to do like an average of what your wall art pricing is and if it’s all a cart, so they purchase a collection and then they add on or how does that work?
00:31:24:17 – 00:31:56:17
So the only thing that clients are able to pre-purchase at time of booking would be the collections that are in quantities of 15, 20 and 25. And I discourage clients to pre-purchase wall art because we don’t know what that’s going to look like based on where it’s going to live on your wall and what image it’s going to be and what size it’s going to be. So I let them know, you know, we’ll decide on the wall art at the time of the removal, but before then send photos of your wall. So I can at least mock it up for you and we can see what looks best. That being said, like all the wall, art is a la carte.
00:31:56:19 – 00:32:05:03
There’s no package for that. And the prices range from $700 a piece to 3150 apiece. And that really depends on just the size.
00:32:05:12 – 00:32:09:21
Nice. And then what program do you use for the mockups?
00:32:10:00 – 00:32:11:04
I use Fundy.
00:32:11:15 – 00:32:16:12
Fundy. Okay. Yeah, I see. Use Fundy when I back when I did wedding albums. So it’s a really great program.
00:32:16:27 – 00:32:19:22
Yeah. I funding for the albums and for wall art.
00:32:20:06 – 00:32:31:18
Okay. All right. So then once you do the Zoom reveal, you said that’s about a week later than you do. You fully retouch the ones they choose then, or what’s the process from there?
00:32:32:09 – 00:33:03:03
So if there is payment that’s due, then typically they don’t pay full right then and there because that’s still probably a few thousand that they have to pay extra and usually that’s in a payment plan. So I will start retouching all the images that they have selected and order the wall art and and so on. And then once their final payment has been made, then I’ll reach out to them to schedule their final reveal back at the studio.
00:33:03:20 – 00:33:08:02
All right. So they come back to your apartment? Yes. Okay. Tell me about that.
00:33:08:10 – 00:33:38:14
So they come back to the apartment. Their whole apartment is set up in a totally different way. Is the reveal set up and same place where we do the shoot. It’s now reveal mode where the couch is actually out there and the TV is set up with their animoto video. And I have just sparkling water set up and whatnot for them. And they walk in, they see their welcome back sign. And I always say it’s going to be a three part reveal process and that just lights them up and they’re excited.
00:33:38:16 – 00:34:11:29
They’re like, Oh, it’s three different parts. And so the first part, I’ll have them sit down, we chat, shall we? You know, we catch up cons probably been like 6 to 8 weeks since we last saw each other and I start their 1 to 2 minute recap video of the shoot, which is interspersed with clips from the actual shoot that I shot. I don’t have an assistant, so I’m shooting. While I’m shooting their photographs, I’m also taking video clips of the shoot itself and I just splice them all together and use beautiful music of Caitlin and Gerson and play that.
00:34:12:01 – 00:34:24:17
And then that just brings them back to the shoot day because it’s been two months at that point and they’re just like, Wow, it’s really cool seeing it from your perspective. And I don’t know, it’s just it just brings a smile on my face. You can probably hear the smile in my voice, but yeah, I can.
00:34:24:26 – 00:34:34:12
It’s so awesome. I love it. I saw somewhere I don’t know if was on your website or maybe on your Instagram that you have a wall where you put the prints up. Do you still do that?
00:34:34:16 – 00:34:45:28
Yes. So that is for two purposes. It’s the main purpose was for the reveal wall. And then the other purpose is it has my personal prints and frames up when it’s not a shoot.
00:34:46:11 – 00:34:52:10
Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. If it’s in your house. Yeah, yeah. Everything is multipurpose in here. Yeah, yeah. Very cool.
00:34:52:11 – 00:35:12:00
So that’s part one, right? And then I say, okay, are you ready for part two? And they’re like, Yeah, yeah. So I have them stand up and oh, during that time as they walk in, they don’t see the wall of their portraits with the variable. It’s covered by my white V flat. So all they really see is just the style of their video. Getting ready to be played on the TV.
00:35:12:13 – 00:35:13:11
Mm. Mm hmm.
00:35:13:15 – 00:35:26:01
And then. And I. Have him stand up, face the white wall that has their pictures behind it, have them close their eyes, and then I slide back to V flat and reveal their photos and they haven’t opened their eyes. I’m like.
00:35:26:27 – 00:35:28:10
Oh my gosh.
00:35:28:25 – 00:35:37:16
It’s just seeing them see themselves in print. You know? It’s a different feeling than having seen themselves on the zoom reveal when we did it on their laptop.
00:35:38:10 – 00:36:08:21
Yeah. So yeah, another experience. Yeah, it is. It’s so cool. I went back when I used to do prints. I remember that. It’s just it’s so different seeing yourself in print. It’s it’s really is cool. Just like, like when, when we judge the Portrait Masters Awards and Accreditation, we’re doing it digitally. And when I went to WPPI this year and I was walking through the printed awards, I was like, Oh yeah, it’s just a different it’s great digitally, but it’s also really different in awesome print. Like, it’s just such a yeah, it’s a different viewing experience.
00:36:08:23 – 00:36:10:29
So how cool that you show both I love it. Yeah.
00:36:11:01 – 00:36:28:28
And so that’s their final reveal and that’s when they can also then take it home with them, right? And I give them the white gloves so they can actually pick them up and feel them. And just it just elevates the whole experience because they’re like, wow, this is very this is just different, right, than the bevy of photographers that are around.
00:36:29:10 – 00:36:30:18
00:36:31:00 – 00:37:02:18
And then part three will be the reveal of their wall art. So that is also sitting out on an easel covered in a black cloth. And I’m like, I reveal it like a magician. I just left open the black cloth and they see their piece of wall art and it’s another gasping moment. And we’re just building excitement and they feel like superstars, they feel like models. They feel amazing and empowered and beautiful, and it just kind of puts a cap on the whole experience that we did.
00:37:03:07 – 00:37:07:26
It sounds like you really take into consideration your level of service that you’re giving.
00:37:08:06 – 00:37:09:01
00:37:09:06 – 00:37:19:13
Yeah, that’s great. People love that. All right. So I want to shift gears a little bit. I’d love to hear about your. You said it’s a skin series. Yes.
00:37:20:09 – 00:37:29:27
So the Skin series. Okay. Back in 2018 when I attended the Portrait Masters for the first time was a 2018 with Joyce Tennison.
00:37:30:12 – 00:37:34:29
Yes, that was 2018. That was in Phoenix, right? Yes. Yeah, that was 2018.
00:37:35:18 – 00:38:15:25
First of all, all the speakers during that conference was talking about kind of creating a personal project of some sort and shooting for yourself and and just really letting creativity shine. And Joyce was saying to do something that you don’t normally do. And that you really love and then release that project as a book or a show or something like that. And I was like, I really want to do that because at the time I was willingly shooting personal branding and I had gotten away from portraits because I was so gung ho about building the personal branding business at the time or the service.
00:38:15:27 – 00:38:48:23
I mean, and I really want to get back into portraiture. And I didn’t know what that was going to look like as far as what she was talking about, like create something that you really love, but it stuck with me. So I really wanted to create something that was a little had deeper feeling. And during COVID and even before COVID, I was starting to personally feel like I just was not feeling comfortable in my own body. I was gaining weight just by building a business. You just couldn’t you just kind of let things fall on the wayside because you’re just so focused on building the business.
00:38:49:24 – 00:39:24:25
And during COVID, then when you don’t have clients, there’s no one to shoot. So I was like, Let me try doing self-portraits. And doing that. Oh, gosh, that was so frustrating because I did not like what I saw in the photos. I was sweating. I was I was just upset during the whole self-portrait experience that I didn’t even want to look at the photos. So then I took a bath and I was like, I’m gonna try this again. I brought my tripod with my camera into the bathtub, and clearly I’m naked right taking a bath.
00:39:24:27 – 00:39:56:28
But I was like, I’m just going to try and take photos of myself in the tub and just do whatever. I’m just going to shoot on interval and see what comes of it without overthinking. And I loved those images because for that exact reason, I wasn’t over thinking it, I was just being myself and you see, you know, my chest and everything, but they were raw and I just created out of a place of creation. And I was like, I really want to do something that has that feeling for other women.
00:39:57:11 – 00:40:02:26
And thus the Skin series was born without me really knowing that that was going to be what it was going to be.
00:40:03:04 – 00:40:05:24
How cool is that? Yeah.
00:40:06:06 – 00:40:36:21
And it was more about kind of accepting your body, but then it transformed as I was shooting more, it was a deeper feeling of going beneath the layers, behind clothes, and not hiding behind anything and just having a story to share. Because even though we maybe have different backgrounds, age, you know, where we come from, ethnicity, body, whatever, there’s something that we can pull from everybody’s stories and kind of relate to that and connect to that.
00:40:36:28 – 00:40:54:26
And so that’s really the purpose of the campaign, is to bring these women together and share their stories through their tattoos, their scars, their disabilities by dysmorphia or what have you, and really captured them in a fine art nude way.
00:40:55:08 – 00:41:00:20
How are you getting these people in to the studio? Like, how are they aware that this project is happening?
00:41:01:05 – 00:41:35:05
It’s all through social media. I have somewhat of a good following as far as for local folks, and when I shared it, it took a while to get to the point where people were okay with being naked and wanting to reach out for it. But once I photographed some people, they showed then in their friend group what they did and were really happy about the experience that their friends then reached out to me. So then it became a ripple effect of people in my area that are like, Oh yes, I want to be part of this.
00:41:35:15 – 00:41:36:29
And so now I have a waitlist.
00:41:37:16 – 00:41:51:24
That is awesome. Very cool. And then you said that when you were listening to Joyce speak, that it was she had mentioned, I remember this, something about turning it into a book or something like that. Is that something that you’re going to do with these portraits after or is it just for your clients?
00:41:52:11 – 00:42:05:25
No, that is definitely something I’m going to do after it’s either going to be a fine art coffee table book or it’s going to be an exhibition. I at this point, I’ve shot about 26 participants already for it.
00:42:06:18 – 00:42:07:12
And I a.
00:42:07:14 – 00:42:31:18
Lot. Yeah. And I don’t see when it’s going to end because I’m not giving myself a deadline or as far as date goes and I’m not giving myself a minimum amount of women that I want to shoot. Because if I have that in my mind, if I know that those two things exist, then I’m not going to have fun creating for it any more. And I need to be in a creative artist space without having a deadline in mind.
00:42:32:10 – 00:42:34:21
Yeah, yeah. Then it’s totally make sense.
00:42:35:06 – 00:43:06:12
And I’m not sure then when that’s going to be of when the project is going to culminate, but it’s definitely going to be a finite book. Limited edition prints, perhaps, but I do want to have something that will celebrate all these stories together. And in the meantime, I did create a an Instagram that’s focused for that specifically as opposed to my main business page, just so I can share things about the project. But I’m very slow in sharing information about that too, and photos because I’m kind of keeping those images close to heart.
00:43:06:26 – 00:43:23:20
But I understand I need to show more images so future people that might be interested in it will know what the heck I’m trying to do here. So it’s kind of like, do I show a lot and then release the images or do I not? But then I risk people not knowing about about it as well.
00:43:24:03 – 00:43:30:06
So I mean, you’ve had 26 people, so I feel like you’re doing something right. Yes.
00:43:30:08 – 00:44:02:19
But as you’re shooting as I’m shooting more, it starts becoming more difficult to kind of screen who does get into the project. So it’s a two application process. Not everyone gets accepted and it’s coming to a point with, okay, I’ve shot 26, but what do I need more of to really have this series stand out? I need older women, so I want someone’s mom, someone’s grandma. I need maybe someone that has like a has a scars.
00:44:02:21 – 00:44:04:28
They went through some fire, I don’t know, just something.
00:44:05:00 – 00:44:05:15
A little bit.
00:44:05:27 – 00:44:18:23
More that will really stand this series out. Because what tends to happen is you shoot one person and then they tell their their friend group, right? But then they’re all in the same age range.
00:44:19:08 – 00:44:19:23
00:44:20:03 – 00:44:26:03
So I have a lot of folks that are thirties and forties and I love to get more that are 50s, 60s, 70s.
00:44:26:14 – 00:44:36:23
Right. That makes sense. Definitely. Now, are they paying a session fee for these, you know, to be part of this this project or how does that work?
00:44:36:27 – 00:45:07:03
Yes. So it is an exclusive booking fee that’s lower than my normal rate and that is $295 and includes the shoot a before and after interview and one image of their choice if they choose to have her makeup, that’s optional. And the reason why it’s optional is because it’s a skin series. So some people want to show up and be truly raw and some others want to have just a little bit of something. And it’s still a no makeup makeup look.
00:45:07:17 – 00:45:12:06
So they still look like themselves, but they at least get to have some pampering time beforehand.
00:45:12:16 – 00:45:16:14
Yeah. And how often are people purchasing extra?
00:45:16:29 – 00:45:17:18
All of them.
00:45:18:04 – 00:45:19:15
All of them. That’s great.
00:45:20:00 – 00:45:47:17
All of them. And in the beginning it was optional to get a package, but no one ended up just walking away with one image. So I just said the lowest collection is six portraits and let’s just go ahead and prepare for that. And then $250 of your session fee of the 295 they pay will just go towards the collection. So I just say because you’re a session fee already included an image. So that image credit will just carry into the collection.
00:45:47:25 – 00:46:00:07
Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. Nice. Very cool. That’s awesome. It’s I think it’s great. We’ve been hearing about different types of campaigns lately here on the podcast. And and this is this is one I haven’t heard about yet. So very interesting.
00:46:00:15 – 00:46:19:00
Thank you. I’m yeah, yeah. I’m really happy about it. And I just wanted to have a different spin from the 40 over 40 or like the ones that are age centric. Right. And so this is just my spin on it. And I really love taking a fine art approach to black and white body scapes and all that good stuff.
00:46:19:11 – 00:46:31:21
Yeah, nice. Well, thank you, Tina, so much for sharing everything. It’s just, you know, you’ve just done so much in such a short amount of time and it’s really awesome. So, yeah, thank you for letting everyone know what you do.
00:46:32:08 – 00:46:35:21
Thank you. I really feel like there are so much more I want to share.
00:46:36:06 – 00:46:39:14
Is it? Yeah. Do you have is there anything else you want to talk about specifically?
00:46:39:20 – 00:47:14:01
I did want to say that during a time when I was focused on personal branding, photography, and I want to go back into portraiture. It was a personal struggle for me to infuse them together or be able to offer them at the same time. Because I saw it as a photographer, they look completely different. Like the results, the way the images look are very different from one another. The personal branding was crisp, clean, almost commercial. Like that’s also like more light. But my portrait work is more moody and more intimate kind of thing.
00:47:14:20 – 00:47:47:29
So I thought there is no possible way that people are going to see cohesion with this. And it really made me struggle because I was like when I posted on Facebook or Instagram, really the images are going to look so wildly different. And so I attended a branding retreat, and the brand strategist that I love was also my friend Kim. She told me, You know, Tina, don’t worry about what the end result looks like because when it comes down to it, the experience, the client experience is the same.
00:47:48:16 – 00:48:05:01
And that’s really what matters is the feeling that the client is getting throughout working with you, as opposed to focusing on the end result, what the way images are, because that’s what you were thinking about as a photographer, but as the client, there are caring more about the client experience and what you’re able to deliver.
00:48:05:08 – 00:48:05:24
I like that.
00:48:05:26 – 00:48:08:06
And that was like an aha moment, huh?
00:48:08:23 – 00:48:33:18
I like that a lot. A lot of people worry about that on their Instagram. Like, Can I put can I put boudoir with personal branding or, you know, certain things together? And it’s like, Yeah, you can. Absolutely. And that’s such a great way to think about it is that client experience, that service is all similar. It’s all the same, right? I love that. Yeah. Awesome. Okay, what else? Is there anything else you want to share before we move on to our final questions?
00:48:34:09 – 00:49:15:00
Yes, I love rest and balance. Coming from corporate. You know, you’re given vacation time, vacation hours and sick leave. And then when you’re working for your own business, you don’t really have that or you don’t have that in your forefront. You’re typically working every day for at least a few hours. And when COVID happened, it really, you know, takes you back. And is a forcible rest. So during that time, I really thought, how can I implement that going forward? And so now I preach and share oftentimes on my social channels with my friends and my clients that I take every ninth week off.
00:49:15:15 – 00:49:21:18
It’s blocked off a year in advance. So generally I’m like, okay, I’m blocking off the ninth week going forward.
00:49:21:29 – 00:49:22:16
This is really.
00:49:22:21 – 00:49:23:10
The end of the year.
00:49:23:23 – 00:49:25:10
Brilliant. I love it.
00:49:25:12 – 00:49:42:21
And it’s, you know, you’re building your business. Make it work for you. If you’re going to work for yourself, make it work for you. And if rest or relaxation or vacation or whatever the case, whatever is important to you is important, then build that into your life so you don’t build resentful ness in your business.
00:49:42:23 – 00:50:08:03
Mm hmm. Totally. Yeah, it’s. The resentment happened so quickly and the overwhelming the burnout and the stress and actually my work as all and I just did a talk on stress and burnout and it’ll be on the Portrait System website starting, I believe, March 22nd. So it’ll already be out by the time this podcast episode comes out. But yeah, it’s so, so important. I love the idea of like scheduling every nine weeks. It’s so brilliant.
00:50:08:15 – 00:50:35:03
And if you want to work during that time, then K Or if you have a last minute client that you really love, I would love to work with then open that time off. But at least it’s off an advance. Yeah, because if it’s not in my calendar, it’s not happening. That’s the way I operate. And even if I want to answer an email after hours, like after 6:00, I will write the email. But I have. It’s scheduled to go out the next day at 10 a.m.. Smart just builds boundaries. I have.
00:50:35:28 – 00:50:38:03
Expectations that they’re going to.
00:50:38:22 – 00:51:05:10
Reach out to you every waking moment. Same thing. If a client were to or a potential client were to send me a DM about inquiring about a photo shoot, I have a template response in that says Thank you for reaching out. Please fill out everything you can in this contact form. I link it to the contact form and I said You’ll receive an email going forward because DMs are really hard to kind of keep track and I don’t want to miss anything.
00:51:05:19 – 00:51:07:27
Yeah. So yeah, you sound very systematized.
00:51:08:12 – 00:51:13:06
Oh, I love systems. And I know you talked about before how you’re like, I don’t know about automation.
00:51:14:01 – 00:51:20:21
I know I’m just my brain just doesn’t good like that. But I wish going back that was the one thing I would change in my business for sure.
00:51:22:18 – 00:51:55:16
One quick thing before we move on to the last questions there was regarding what you set around taking scheduled time off. There was an Instagram post that I added to my stories. It says, it’s this guy Jonathan and he posts it says, I’m thankful for a great boss. And then he shows. He’s sharing a page of the business called Complete Termite Pest Control, and it says, Congratulations to Jonathan Warrington for being employee of the month. Jonathan will get a three day and night, all expense paid hunting and fishing trip to Arkansas for his hard work. And then the person who’s sharing this whole thing says, This is my brother’s page.
00:51:55:23 – 00:52:24:09
He owns his own company. He is the boss. He is literally the only employee. And I was dying because clearly this guy is just being funny. Like, I’m my own boss and I’m taking the weekend off to go fishing and hunting. Clearly he’s paying for it because he owns the company. But it was just funny because it’s like, Yeah, we should take time off and we do deserve to have time off. And anyway, it just made me laugh. Yeah, yeah. Okay. The last questions I have for you. First question is, what is something you can’t live without when you’re doing a photo shoot?
00:52:24:29 – 00:52:41:27
Music is definitely number one. I had a personal branding shoot. Hey, I don’t care what the client wants to listen to if you want to listen to metal music. I had a fitness client. He wants to listen to metal. Fine. Well, listen to metal music. I just need something in the background to stimulate the senses.
00:52:42:07 – 00:52:43:12
Yeah, yeah. And then.
00:52:43:14 – 00:52:48:00
LAUGHTER Come on, we got to laugh and have fun. Otherwise, it’s just awkward.
00:52:48:19 – 00:52:55:08
Agreed? Yes, definitely. Okay. Number two is how do you spend your time when you’re not working.
00:52:56:00 – 00:53:13:26
Currently, it’s the gym. I’ve been on a health journey for the last year and I spa. We spend 17 hours at the gym a week and traveling. I have multiple international trips coming up this year and I love to travel because I’m an international kid.
00:53:14:11 – 00:53:17:00
Yeah, awesome. Very cool. Where are you going?
00:53:17:16 – 00:53:23:10
I’m going to Iceland in a month and might be going to Italy in June.
00:53:23:28 – 00:53:31:19
I am too. And are we going for the same reason perhaps? Yes. Okay, this is exciting. We can’t say anything yet, but
00:53:33:08 – 00:53:35:29
I will see you there. Most likely, yes.
00:53:36:01 – 00:53:42:06
And then possibly September. I’m going to England. A client wants to do a personal branding shoot there and wants to fly me out there.
00:53:42:15 – 00:53:44:08
You wouldn’t have to ask me twice. I know.
00:53:44:25 – 00:53:47:17
So that’s what it’s kind of in the in the works here.
00:53:48:09 – 00:53:53:03
Very cool. All right. And number three is, what is your favorite inspirational quote?
00:53:53:28 – 00:54:07:13
I am not a quote person, but the quote that is dear to me is what my boyfriend said a few years ago to me. He said, The moment you are impatient with yourself is the moment you are unwilling to wait for your own success.
00:54:08:04 – 00:54:10:18
Oh, I love that girl boyfriend.
00:54:10:23 – 00:54:21:15
He has been the greatest thing and supporter in just life right now. When I got laid off, he stood by me. He wasn’t like, Hey, when are you going to get a new job? Because we got, like, rent to pay.
00:54:22:07 – 00:54:23:08
Yeah. He was like, Hey.
00:54:23:10 – 00:54:33:27
Let’s try it out. And he comes up with ideas to help me. And I just. I love him. He’s amazing. And that really means a lot to me because it’s from him. And also, it makes sense.
00:54:34:12 – 00:54:41:16
Yeah, that’s wonderful. All right. And last question is, what would you tell people who are just starting out?
00:54:41:27 – 00:55:13:16
There is so much. But the thing that sticks out is master one skill. Course project at a time. Just like there is gas — gear acquisition syndrome. It is the same for courses. There is so many courses out now, you know, and in this digital age that I feel like we tend to buy a lot of different things and educational things, but then we don’t even get through them. So really just focus on one thing at a time.
00:55:13:18 – 00:55:22:13
Master it, master that lighting set up, or that lighting equipment and then get the next thing. You don’t always have to get all the things and overwhelm yourself.
00:55:22:19 – 00:55:33:20
Mm hmm. Great advice. There’s some statistic out there. I can’t remember what it is, but it’s something like only 13% or maybe was 23% of people actually finish courses they purchase.
00:55:34:02 – 00:55:37:05
I’m one of them. I have probably courses that I bought and I’ve forgotten about.
00:55:37:12 – 00:55:39:14
Yeah, same. That’s ridiculous.
00:55:41:03 – 00:55:44:18
Anyway. All right, awesome. And where can people find you online, Tina?
00:55:45:00 – 00:56:08:00
Mainly on Instagram, which is at Tina Leu Fotos with an F and that’s basically it. My website is TinaLeu.com. I’m not really on Facebook. Besides being in the portrait master’s group, Portrait System Group and my Skin series, if you’re interested, is mySkinseries.Com. And that’s all I got.
00:56:08:15 – 00:56:21:06
Very cool. All right. Well, thank you again. I will see you online in the in the portrait system Facebook group. And then hopefully I’ll see you in June. And yeah, this has been great. Really appreciate it.
00:56:21:08 – 00:56:31:21
Thank you, Nikki, so much for having me. I was really excited and I hope that whatever I shared will help somebody. And I’m open in the DMs in the Facebook group that people can reach out.
00:56:32:10 – 00:57:06:25
Fantastic. Thank you so much for listening to the Portrait System Podcast. Your five-star reviews really help us to continue what we do. So, if you like listening, would you mind giving us a review wherever you listen? I also encourage you to head over to SueBryceEducation.com, where you can find all of the education you need to be a successful photographer. There are over 1,000 on-demand educational videos on things like posing, lighting, styling, retouching, shooting, marketing, sales, business, and self-value.
There’s also the 90 Day Startup Challenge, plus so many downloads showing hundreds of different poses. We have to-do checklists for your business, lighting PDFs, I mean truly everything to help make you a better photographer and to make you more money. Once again, that’s SueBryceEducation.com.