Nathan “Nate” Elson of nathanelson.com has been a full-time Canadian photographer for 8 years. He labels himself as a commercial portrait photographer and his photography is turning heads, grabbing attention and getting him booked everyday. In this interview, Nate shares some of his strategies on building a successful commercial portrait photography business.
In what I thought was a dog eat dog world of commercial photography, Nate reveals, it's anything but and he owes a lot of his success to other established photographers doing similar things and vying for the same clients.
Helping other photographers is just ‘what goes around, comes around' – Nathan Elson
Check Nate's “about page” and you'll see a portrait of a bad ass, moody tough guy. That's Nate. Watch one of his video blogs (vlogs) though, and you'll see a thoughtful, approachable, talented and friendly dude.
I wasn't aware Nate was a Fuji X photographer until after I asked him onto the show for an interview. It was his photography that grabbed me. Is it really possible to build a commercial portrait photography business based on shooting the way you like to shoot? It seems so in Nate's case!
Plus, it looked like he's getting somewhere with the whole business thing.
Here’s some of what we cover:
- Defining your photography style
- Blending editorial and portrait photography with corporate jobs
- How long to deliver client images
- When to seek help in your business with retouching work
- Factors to consider when pricing your commercial and editorial portrait photography
- How much should you be charging for commercial portraiture and editorial photography?
- How to turn a boring corporate shoot into a fun session and make it pay off financially
- How to turn down work you don't want to be shooting for existing clients
- Red flags to look for before accepting client bookings
- How to turn down clients who are not a good fit for your brand
- Why you need to be honest with your clients about your photography style
- Why you should not be scared to say ‘no' to your clients
- Don't show everything you shoot
- If you need the paycheque, take the job
- Why wedding photography is not a good fit for older photographers
- How to transition from wedding photography to corporate commercial photographer
- How to target and book your first corporate, commercial photography clients
- How to price your photography work when new to the industry
- Why help newcomers to the industry when they will be your competition
- What type of photos Nathan shares on Instagram and why
- The secret is to be consistent with what you show
What’s on Offer for Premium Members
If you’re a premium member, you should have received an email with links to your version of this episode where you can hear lots more content from where we dive deeper into some of the earlier topics plus some new ones that I pushed hard for that include:
- Behind-the-scenes video and stills and how they will affect your business growth
- Why Nathan started video blogging despite his busy schedule
- Why Nathan prefers Instagram over other social media channels
- How to come up with your pricing structure when bidding for a large job
- The importance of phone calls in striking up relationships with your clients
- Commercial photography licensing and how it works
- Why Nathan prefers shooting tethered wherever possible
- The best thing Nathan has done for his business
- Dealing with setbacks in business
- How Nathan handles an unhappy client
- The defining moment that boosted Nathan's career as a commercial photographer
If you’re on the fence about becoming a premium member, join with the $1 trial today and get access to the FULL interview with Nathan Elson, get access to an amazing back catalogue of interviews and ALL future interviews delivered automatically to your phone or tablet.
I don't have any fear of saying no to something that doesn't fit what I do – Nathan Elson
Plus, access to a members only Facebook group where you'll connect with other members and interview guests to help, support and motivate you to take what you hear in each episode and put it into action. You will not find cooler, more motivated and caring photographers online.
What is your big takeaway?
Following this interview, I’d love to know what your biggest takeaway is – what is the one thing that you’d like to implement or learnt from what was shared? Let me know by leaving your thoughts in the comments below.
This is a job that rewards the hustle. It's a fun job. The hustle never really feels like work either – Nathan Elson
If you have any questions that I missed, a specific question you’d like to ask Nathan or if you just want to say thanks for coming on the show, feel free to add them below.
Competition Time with Bittersweet Design Boutique
I saw an Instagram post by Rose and Thomas over at Bittersweet Design Boutique where there were offering one lucky follower, a chance to win a $100 gift voucher to use in their store. To win, followers needed to leave a comment saying what they would use the $100 for.
I commented and mentioned as the winner, I'd give the voucher to one lucky listener of the podcast.
I didn't win… but…
Thomas was in touch and has put up another $100 voucher for me to giveaway. To go in the draw, leave a comment below. Let me know what you'd purchase with your $100 voucher from the store at: http://designbybittersweet.com/shop/
That's not all! If you're not the winner (to be announced in next weeks show), Thomas and Rose have made a special promo code available to all PhotoBizX listeners for a cool 30% off everything!
Use the code “spring30” until the April 30th.
The PhotoBizX Website Design Makeover
I recently shared the process I went through with the full design makeover of the PhotoBizX website. Alex Vita of Foreground web was the master behind the changes and I just learnt documented the complete process – from start to finish – and has blogged about it.
In his post, you can see the changes and more importantly, the reasoning behind the changes he was suggesting. This is a good chance to get inside the head of a website expert and see if you can apply his philosophy on modern design to your site.
At the very least, see if you can pick the changes, if they work, make sense or will improve user experience.
You can find the post here: http://www.foregroundweb.com/blog/photobizx-design-makeover/
I have a fun job. I like to make the job fun – Nathan Elson
Special Idealist Offer for PBX'ers!
Becky and Jesse from last weeks episode have really come to the party for listeners and are offering their course on creating Instagram and Facebook ads for Wedding Professionals that work and how to grow your Instagram following organically which is normally $997… for $297!
In addition to the massive saving, you'll get TWO one-on-one calls with Becky or Jesse.
The course goes into a LOT more detail about what Jesse and Becky shared in the interview from lead magnet creation to your specific ad settings, your branding message, your ad copy… everything!
Included with the course is a no questions asked money back guarantee for 60 days!
Here's the link to learn more about the course: photobizx.com/idealust
iTunes Reviews and Shout-outs
Each week I check for any new iTunes reviews and it's always a buzz to receive these… for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, it's confirmation that I'm on the right track with the interviews and that they really are helping you improve your photography business. That's awesome!
Secondly, iTunes is the biggest search engine when it comes to podcasts and it's your reviews and ratings that help other photographers find PhotoBizX. More listeners means more interviews and ultimately a better show.
If you have left a review in the past, thank you!
If you haven't and you'd like to, head to https://photobizx.com/itunes and you can leave some honest feedback and a rating which will help both me and the show and I'll be sure to thank you on the show and add a link to your website or blog if you let me know the URL and your name.
Links to people, places and things mentioned in this episode:
People feel they need to show everything they've been doing to try to prove that they're busy – Nathan Elson
Thank you again for listening to the show and thanks to Nathan for coming on and sharing so much about his business, the way he's grown it and some of his strategies.
No risk, no reward – Nathan Elson
If you have any suggestions, comments or questions about this episode, please be sure to leave them below in the comment section of this post, and if you liked the episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post!
That’s it for me this week, hope everything is going well for you in life and business!
Thanks and speak soon