Sean Gannon of Energy Photographic was given a camera for his 34th birthday in 2006 by his wife Helen. She was 5 months pregnant, they owned and were running a successful recruitment company. Three weeks later, Sean closed the company to become a photographer with NO idea how to make money, a baby on the way and little money in the bank.
2 years later he shot 34 weddings. It grew to more than per year after that.
Plus, Sean opened a portrait studio.
He was meeting every client, shooting engagement sessions for every couple and giving 12 hours of coverage per wedding while Helen was looking after the kids.
Sean was editing, doing the admin, blogging every wedding a few days after the event and in 2013, he burned out. He realised, busy doesn't equal success with a photography business and things had to change.
You know the grass isn’t always greener. You might be standing on the green grass as it is – Sean Gannon
In 2014, Helen took over for a while by opening a newborn studio and targeted high end clients. She did very well and only closed that studio when they moved from London to Bristol 18 months ago.
Sean says his future is exceedingly bright after trying different approaches and they are now more than happy to keep things simple.
Here’s some of what we cover in this interview:
- Why Sean goes to meet his clients in another city instead of a Skype call or asking them to come to him
- Where Sean’s client-base are mostly located and how that changes the way he does business
- Clients shouldn’t be penalised for me deciding to move 110 miles away from them
- How to maintain an effective business if moving away from your usual market area
- What Sean does to book more weddings in his new home town
- Why Sean felt he had to close a business he is familiar with and start a photography business
- Why it's ok to do what every other photographer is doing
- How Sean kicked off his photography business and started attracting bookings
- How to maximise the leads you collect from competitions
- What is a double discount and how to offer it to your clients?
- Are couples drawn to more products or discounts?
- Aren't people responding less to discounts nowadays?
- Using discounts to increase monthly cash flow
- Why Sean experienced burn out in his business
- The downside of winning awards and recognition
- Why it is ideal to be blogging your wedding sessions immediately after the day
- How to target high-end clients for our photography business
- Why Sean decided to move away from London
- How Sean restructured his business model to avoid burn out again
- Realisations after stepping back and taking a break from booking too many weddings
- What caused the glitch or Sean’s lack of enthusiasm to continue photographing weddings
- The biggest mistake Sean made with his business
- How double discounting almost cost Sean his business and his health
- Having too many booked weddings doesn’t always equate to happiness and success
- Burn out signs for small business operators
- Why it’s good to have a pause from your business and think things through
- Sean’s secret to getting great booking rates
- The importance of being genuine when meeting up with clients
- Sean’s preferred locations to meet clients
- What product samples Sean brings to client meetings
- How Sean ended up getting featured in the BBC One Show
- How Sean used the free media publicity from the BBC One Show to his advantage
- What you need to do to maximise exposure for your business after winning awards
- When is the best time to make a friend request on Facebook for prospective clients?
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 more of the interview where we dive deeper into some of the earlier topics plus some new ones that I pushed for.
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 Sean, get access to an amazing back catalogue of interviews and ALL future interviews delivered automatically to your phone or tablet.
There’s nothing wrong with doing what everybody else does. Just do it to the best of your abilities that you can. I think that’s the kind of light bulb moment when I suddenly went “Okay. Now we have something to latch on to” – Sean Gannon
Plus, access to a members only Secret Facebook Group where you can 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 more friendly, more motivated and caring photographers online.
What is your big takeaway?
Following this interview, I’d love to know if you're taking anything away from what Sean shared. Is there something you heard that excited or motivated you to the point where you thought, yeah, I'm going to do that! If so, let me know by leaving your thoughts in the comments below, let me know what your takeaways were, what you plan to implement in your business as a result of what you heard in todays episode.
It was my choice to move to Bristol. It was my choice to leave London and therefore clients shouldn’t be penalised of the fact that I decided to leave a 110 miles away – Sean Gannon
If you have any questions that I missed, a specific question you’d like to ask Sean or if you just want to say thanks for coming on the show, feel free to add them in the comments area below.
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 of your website and your name.
Alternatively, if you've left a review for PhotoBizX and are looking for more backlinks to help your SEO, leave a review for the new Photography Xperiment Podcast and email me your key words or keyword phrase and where you'd like me to link to.
Here are a few recent reviews:
The best find for a Photographer ever!
In iTunes by Gold Coast wedding photographer, Alister Randell from Australia on March 15, 2017
Where do I even start. I've always loved listening to podcasts around how to grow your business, entrepreneurship etc… but just didn't even think that there would be a specific podcast for Photographers and creatives sharing about there success and failures. Then I found Photo Biz X.
Clear, very practical and Andrew is very involved with the premium members, helping other photographers succeed. At the end of each podcast I get excited to apply what I have heard to my business and also see others feedback within the group.
What a great community. I recommend this 100%.
Everything you need to know about wedding photography
In iTunes by the fun, creative, documentary wedding photographer, Anna Pumer Photography from the UK on March 14, 2017
I'm addicted to this podcast!
I feel like the host Andrew is my colleague – I have his voice playing through the speakers in my car, at home while I work, everywhere!
The people he interviews are full of amazing advice, and I now have a huge list of things to do for my wedding photography business. Andrew always asks the questions you want to know and gets so much good info out of the interviewees.
Without sounding cliché, Andrew's podcast has changed my life.
In iTunes by Canberra Newborn Photographer, Kayleigh McGlynn in Australia on March 13, 2017
Someone asked me last week what the best thing I've done for my business is, and honestly it is making sure I listen to Andrew's weekly podcast. The amount of insightful and actionable content that Andrew and his guests deliver is worth far more than the subscription!
The inspiration that I've gathered from listening to PhotoBizX each week has allowed my business to grow in ways I had never imagined.
No matter what stage you're at in your photography business, I can't recommend this podcast highly enough.
The NEW Photography Xperiment Podcast is live and available
Following the success and support shown by listeners after the experimental format of the recent interviews, the new Photo Xperiment Podcast has been launched and is available on this site and in iTunes now.
Interviews are underway and I'll be looking for new guests, not restricted to wedding and portrait photographers. If you have someone you think would be a good fit, let me know in the comment area below or email me, email@example.com.
The idea behind these interviews is to get into the headspace of the photographer and find what makes them tick, what drives them, their thought process, philosophy on shooting and how they achieve what they do with their photography. So yeah, a little technique type content too.
These interviews will not focus on the business of photography – that'll be preserved solely for the weekly and unchanging format of the PhotoBizX podcast.
To hear these interviews in your podcast app, you will need to subscribe to the podcast – these interviews will not be delivered automatically if you're subscribed to PhotoBizX. Open your favourite podcast app and search “Photography Xperiment Podcast” or enter the feed URL, https://photobizx.com/feed/xperiment/ into the search field of your podcast app.
The last episode featured was a swing away from the usual and instead of talking to a photographer, we were lucky enough to have both Paul and Kate of Atkins of Atkins Pro Lab with us.
The Atkins photography lab is celebrating their 80 year anniversary which makes them Australia's oldest professional photo lab, run by a third generation husband and wife team. Although based in Australia, they service photographers from all over the globe because Atkins is the only lab in the world printing on handmade cotton rag sheets, something they developed with their devotion to real fine art printing.
It is really important that photographers look for what works for them in terms of their own branding and their own marketplace and then really pitch something to that. – Paul and Kate
The interview is available here: TPX18: Paul and Kate Atkins – The Real Fine Art Photography Printers
In the interview, Paul and Kate mentioned a special offer for listeners… 20% off your first order with Atkins Pro Lab. Simply mention the podcast to take advantage of that offer.
Slideshow Competition… and the winner is
Christal Houghtelling! Because I was judging these slideshows on impact, it was difficult to go past Crystals work… I felt like she took me on a journey with every image from fun and actual laughter (with the gun to the head photo) to moodiness and adventure. I loved her use of light, framing and cropping too. Just gorgeous!
You can see Christal's slideshow here: https://christal-houghtelling-photography.smartslides.com/christal-houghtelling-photography
Christal, you have a 12 month Pro Plan for SmartSlides coming your way… Congratulations and thanks for entering!
I want to add special mentions to two other slideshows that were just beautiful! You guys are talented!
Jared Lindsay with his photos of Harper at Home: https://jared-lindsay-photography.smartslides.com/harper-at-home
Kayleigh McGlynn with her photos of little Violet: https://kayleigh-mcglynn-photography.smartslides.com/violet
The brief was: Show one family member in their natural environment.
The slideshow must to be made on SmartSlides and the trial version is totally fine.
The winner will be chosen on which slide show impacts me the most.
Karen Sperling's book on Corel Painter
I've learned since interviewing Karen Sperling , if you're not US based, it's pricey to purchase Karen's Corel Painter book and it's unavailable at amazon.com.au.
Karen has worked out it's cheaper for her to order from the US and ship it to you. If you'd like to do that, email karen here: firstname.lastname@example.org
And here's a link to the book if you'd like a closer look: http://www.artistrymag.com/corelpainterbook
Links to people, places and things mentioned in this episode:
Thanks again for listening and thanks to Sean for coming on and sharing his thoughts and ideas on building a profitable photography business and maintaining a great lifestyle at the same time.
Full on, hit the market and get yourself up and running as quick as you can – Sean Gannon
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