Kate Buechner of Uber Photography n Sydney is on her way to building a million dollar family portrait photography business through smart marketing, great in person sales, beautiful photography, planning, strong relationships with her clients and a streamlined workflow.
Kate works alongside her husband Chris, also a photographer in their busy studio and she has appeared on PhotoBizX briefly during one of my AIPP award episodes and I've been meaning to get her back on since.
It was a Facebook post and the following thread that kicked me into gear to chase her up for this interview.
Kate posted in a private group…
I reached my goal of 300 portrait sessions for the year! We have had our best year in business after 15 years, photographing only what we love to shoot…
Kate added… I normally shoot 4 or 5 sessions each Saturday, and a couple during the week. My school holidays are also super busy.
It is all about having a good workflow..
She also wrote in that thread… I wanted to add I offer a full service, so with those sessions I sold 526 wall prints, which are 8×12's and above 🙂
Only 25 clients chose just to go for digital files…
This is one of those special interviews where I knew what I was hearing and learning was absolute gold. The real deal from a photographer sharing exactly how they are achieving the success they are while they are currently doing it… it just doesn't get any better!
Here’s some of what we cover in this interview:
- How to project your photographic and financial goals for the year
- The importance of goal setting to reach your yearly average target
- Kate’s average sale figures per sitting
- The challenge of operating in an expensive area where spending is focused on mortgages, education & living expenses
- The need to work smarter to encourage clients to spend more money on photography
- How Kate set up and structured her photography business
- Why hiring staff is better than outsourcing to help grow your photography business
- The benefits of hiring admin staff for your business, even part time
- Kate’s outlook on running a million dollar business
- Will living in a low income area affect the success of your business when servicing an affluent area?
- Setting up a photography studio in a street frontage doesn’t bring you clients
- The number of sessions you book is related to the marketing you do
- How to manage that balance between work and family life
- Why Kate feels she has been able to build a successful studio photography business
- Setting up boundaries when working and managing time with your children
- How Kate finds her clients and how they find her
- Kate’s seven sources of marketing to sustain her business success
- How to get people to subscribe to your newsletter
- Using third party promotions with different businesses
- Using voucher systems on charity or school fund-raising events
- Setting up a referral program to bring in more clients
- Utilising Facebook tagging to encourage clients to share Kate’s work and gain exposure
- Why Kate doesn’t share clients photos before a sales session… ever
- The need to get clients into their sales session as soon as possible after the shoot
- How Kate handles clients who don't want their photos uploaded to her Facebook page
- What is Táve and how it can help your photography business?
- What returns can you expect from using a voucher system for portrait bookings?
- 90% of your clients will buy from you in an in-person sales session when you do an amazing job at the shoot
- Keeping your focus on your averages instead of individual sales
- Kate's session fees and her package inclusions
- Kate’s workflow when dealing with clients who uses her vouchers
- Why you need to charge clients a holding deposit for weekend sessions
- When is the best time to inform clients who uses vouchers they can buy more prints?
- The importance of giving pricing information upfront
- Refining your marketing strategies as you grow
- The need to put your systems and business rules in place
- How to build great relationships with your clients
- Why you should start taking notes about what you and your clients talk about
- How to stand out in a saturated family portrait photography market
- How to build your brand image
- Kate’s sales strategies on how to make $1500 averages
- How Kate does her in-person sales sessions
- How to plant the seed in people’s minds on what print sizes to buy
- Pricing and the packages included
- Going through the photo selection process with your clients
- Why you need take your computer mouse when leaving the clients for their decision making during a sales session
- Why shift from shooting outdoors to studio photography sessions
- What lighting Kate uses in her studio
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.
We’ve set ourselves that goal about six or seven years ago to be a million dollar business, basically, so that’s what we’ve been working towards just building each year and increasing ourselves so that we get to that point – Kate Buechner
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 Kate, get access to an amazing back catalogue of interviews and ALL future interviews delivered automatically to your phone or tablet.
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 Kate 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.
If I was a newbie now, I would be really focus on amazing customer service as the very first focus of your business. – Kate Buechner
If you have any questions that I missed, a specific question you’d like to ask Kate 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's the most recent review….
So much GREAT information
In iTunes by Sydney Family Photographer, Eleanor of Honeydew photography on March 28, 2017
Thank you Andrew for putting together all these wonderful podcasts. I have only been listening for a week and my head is spinning! I'm kicking myself that I didn't give you a go years back.
Everyone is so generous with their ideas and it really is an inspiration and a motivation.
Thank you Andrew. And I love hearing your voice and your stories and your weekly tales. Keep it up! Cheers Eleanor
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 Pro Cycling Photographer, Kristof Ramon from Belgium who covers some of the worlds biggest and most prestigious races including the Tour de France, the Giro d Italia, the Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix.
Kristof was born and raised in Belgium and attended film school at the age of 19. It was here that he discovered photography. He eventually followed his passion for cycling and photography and started photographing the sport.
It's difficult to define Kristof as a sports photographer. His photography captures so much more than the action.
He says the riders are always his main focus… and that comes through when you see his portfolio which features close ups portraits of racers caked in sweat, mud, dust, snow and grime.
The thing is you evolve. When you begin something and you learn a trick or a technique and you try it out, you always tend to overdo it. But in later photography, it’s like those little tricks you try to implement them more subtly and that’s when it becomes interesting because I needed those to go really overboard to be able later on to make that trick more subtle and maybe not noticeable or not as noticeable as the trickery it is, and that’s technique – Kristof Ramon
The interview is available here: TPX19: Kristof Ramon – Breaking through as a pro cycling photographer
Are you taking action like Spenser is?
Each week I go on about making sure you implement what you hear from the show otherwise it's purely entertainment an not really helping you in your photography business. Lat week, I received this super encouraging email from Colorado portrait photographer, Spenser Thomas after I checked in to see how he's going with his membership, he says…
I'm well and good, thanks for asking! I haven't been active in the Facebook group as I've sort of been in the trenches working away. So here's a summary of what I've implemented:
1. Ran one FB AD in January with a $35 budget, following the New Years engagements trend. Had decent reach and engagement, shot 5 sessions, and booked 2 weddings at $1750 each. So nice return!
2. Revamped my pricing using advice from Spencer Lum, and used the ebook “Go Your Own Way” from Kristen Kalp for some motivation and business planning.
3. Using images from the engagement shoots with the first ad, I ran a second ad with a $50 budget. I created 3 dark post ads to assess which image garnered the most response, and had an overwhelming 86 entries (pre-qualified through a questionnaire). I currently have 9 engagements for April and May. I'm planning on creating an ad for in-home family sessions targeted at military families living on nearby bases.
4. I set up Instaproofs using Jonathan Canlas' sales techniques and Instaproofs' automated sales emails and was able to get one of the engagement clients to purchase a 16×20 for $175.
5. I'm currently in the process of creating a PDF for wedding vendors like Dan Waters did. I'm hoping some venues will allow me onsite to take some photos/video, but my emphasis will be on written content.
6. Using images from the engagement shoots, and dedicated posts for each vendor, I'm hoping to capitalise on a lot of blogging content using the guidance of Ben Turner / Corey Potter & Alex Vita.
7. I purchased a subscription for SmartSlides, and currently enjoy it! I tried Shootflow but it's similar to what I'm already doing using checklists for wedding bookings combined with google calendars. Not much to add here other than I've gotten happy responses from clients.
Hope this helps. I'd be happy to go into detail if you need me to Andrew, it's the least I could do. Your guests have definitely helped me kick off my business as the new kid on the block here in Colorado. I'm sure when we return home to Hawaii in a few years, I'll be armed with experience and skills to really take off there.
Andrew here again…. WOW! What are you doing in your business?
Facebook Ad Promo Course is almost ready
I get more emails and spend more time helping listeners with their Facebook Ad Promo after the three interviews with Bernie Griffith than any other topic. For good reason…
These ads are responsible for more leads, bookings and sales than any other kind of marketing or advertising right now.
Because the topic has become more in depth as premium members try, modify and share their results, tweaking as they go… the strategy has become so much more involved.
Now, instead of only applying to portrait photographers, there are systems that will see you booking weddings, newborns, couples, families and any other kind of session using the strategy.
Because of all the interest and the different options available, I've created a course form the collective content on the topic. It's almost ready for release and if you'd like to be notified when it is, add your details here: http://photobizx.com/comingsoon
Once the course goes live, there will be a substantial discount for listeners. Get on the list by letting me know your details (click the link above to add them) and I'll be sure to let you know what's happening. In the lead up, I'll be sharing aspects of the course that will improve your ads out of sight, even without the course! Again, get on the list to get that free training.
Pro Photographer Journey Podcast
If you'd like to hear more from me and what I've learnt from PhotoBizX, I was recently interviewed by Chamira on her Pro Photographer Journey Podcast. You can hear the episode here: http://prophotographerjourney.com/132/
Some of the things we talk about include:
- Word of mouth marketing by delivering a great experience
- Treating sales as a service to your clients
- How to effectively network with local vendors
- Finding your photographic style, branding and attracting your perfect clients
- What branding really is
- Chamira and I share some of our confessions!
Tàve Studio Management Setup
In the interview with Kate, you would of heard how important a role Tave plays in her studio management and success. If you'd like help setting up Tave in your studio, Kate offers a service where she can help you with exactly that!
Kate says on her site…
It's the setup of a studio management system, that is the most daunting part of setting up a studio management system.
We can take that stress away for you by doing the whole setup for you. We get all the details we need for setup, and then input everything for you. With our extensive knowledge of using Tave in our own business, we can customize this for you, so everything will be up ready and running for you to be able to use it straight away.
The setup will be complete within 10 days of receiving your information and deposit. We will then set up a 2 hour Skype call to go through everything with you. We will show you all the back end of the system so you can make changes as you need to, and show you lots of demos on how to use it. We also include ongoing support for 3 mths via email for any questions you may have.
The cost to set it up is just $895. We require a deposit of $450 to start the setup and the balance will be due the date of your Skype call.
You can find more details here: http://portraits.uberphotography.com.au/tave-setup
Links to people, places and things mentioned in this episode:
Thanks again for listening and thanks to Kate for coming on and sharing so much about her business and exactly what it takes to build something as successful as she has.
I will never operate without people seeing my pricing upfront – Kate Buechner
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