Jon Harris of www.jonharris.photography is based in a small seaside town on the South Coast of NSW, Australia. He makes a living shooting weddings, real estate, architecture, wildlife and tourism. In this interview, we dive into what it takes to survive and hopefully prosper as a photographer in a small community with an abundance of photographers and not a huge amount of work to go round. This isn't an “I shot a friends wedding and everything took off from there” kind of interview but a good hard look at what it takes to carve out a living in what is a tough economic environment.
On his about page, Jon says…
I didn’t go to art school, or do a degree in photography. I didn’t pick up a camera seriously until my 30’s. I don’t do film. I never did film. But these things don’t make me any less of a photographer.
When going into this interview, my feeling was, here is a photographer who loves the outdoors, is happy to live a simple, uncomplicated life as long as there is travel and photography. The paid gigs might only be the means to live the life he wants and business is down the list when it comes to priorities. I don't think I was too far off the mark.
Here’s some more of what we cover in this interview:
- Why Jon left his day job and went full-time with photography
- Jon’s turnover
- Which photography niche does Jon generate most income
- What Jon is doing to get bookings
- The importance of checking and knowing your local competition
- How to utilise referrals to get more bookings
- Working as a second photographer to boost income and experience
- Joining wedding expos to find couples and attract more bookings
- Offering free engagement sessions as lead magnets
- How exhibiting at a wedding expo played out for Jon’s photography business
- Jon’s strategy in calling couple’s attentions to his free engagement shoots
- Wedding expo costs
- How to follow up leads obtained from your bridal expo
- How Jon got started with real estate photography and how he attracted his first bookings
- Pricing and packages for real estate photography
- What to expect at a real estate photo session
- What kind of lighting is best for real estate shoots
- Supplemental lighting is an art form but anyone can learn it
- Jon’s workflow when shooting real estate
- What you need to know when using supplemental lighting
- Is real estate photography better than wedding photography, financially?
- What photography niche Jon enjoys more
- Jon’s goals for real estate photography
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 interview – the full length and more revealing version where you hear the absolute best tips and advice from every guest.
When you’re starting off, it’s okay to be not that expensive but you have to grow those prices as your business grows – Photography Business Coach, Bernie Griffiths
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 Jon, get access to an amazing back catalogue of interviews and ALL future interviews delivered automatically to your phone or tablet.
Plus special member-only interviews.
You'll also receive access to the members only Secret Facebook Group where you can connect with other Premium Members and interview guests to help, support and motivate you to take ideas you hear in each episode and put them into action. There are also FB live video tutorials, role play interviews and special live interviews happening in the group.
You will not find more friendly, more motivated, caring and sharing photographers online.
Joining a Mastermind Group (encouraged by Andrew) has been incredibly valuable and fun, I look forward to connecting with my group members every week. Jina Zheng, Premium Member and Melbourne Children photographer.
And that's not all… you get a set of steak knives… I'm kidding!
Seriously though, that's not all. In addition to everything above, you'll get access to and instructions on forming or joining a MasterMind Group with other premium members. These groups are super motivating, make you accountable and build friendships with other pro photographers with similar motives to you – to build a more successful photography business.
What is your big takeaway?
Following this interview, I’d love to know if you're taking anything away from what Jon 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.
There’s a fine balance I find. You don’t want to give away too much and appear to be the kind of photographer who discounts at the drop of the hat but you do need something of value obviously to entice people to hand over their details.
If you have any questions that I missed, a specific question you’d like to ask Jon 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.
The Turning Gate
Today's episode features an additional interview with product creator Matthew Campagna of The Turning Gate who build plugins and resources for photographers.
Turning Gate has been described to me by listener and UK photographer Terry Livesy as a website tool that Lightroom publishes directly to. He's used it for years and swears by it. As a non-lightroom user, I was unfamiliar with the product but understand, there's a good chance you are a LightRoom user so thought it's be good to learn more about it.
I've linked to people and products Matt mentions below:
Matt has also kindly supplied a promo code if you're looking to purchase any of The Turning Gate tools. Use the promo code photobizx to save 10% inside the shopping cart. Available till end of September 2017.
NEW Product review and suggestion segment
After the topic of recommended business resources and products for pro photographers came up in the Members Facebook Group, I'm delighted to get into the second segment with thanks to to Edmonton photographer, Amanda Schulz of ACS Studios.
Amanda will be familiar to Premium and long term listeners after her interview for episode 144 of the podcast – How to find your way as a portrait photographer where she introduced and went into detail about how her 30 Days of Gorgeous Project works to generate a great photography income in addition to her full time teaching career. The same project Michael Teo has used and shared in his recent premium only interview.
In today's segment, Amanda's suggestion for you to check out is Creative Market – Ready-to-use design assets from 22,550 independent creators.
Amanda shares a cool way to get freebies from the site and why she checks in each week to see what's on offer.
Thanks again Amanda for kicking off this segment!
If you have a product or service you can't live without and know other listeners will benefit from, let me know and let's record or get something down for the podcast. You can reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Links to people, places and things mentioned in this episode:
Thanks again for listening and thanks to Jon for coming on and sharing so much about his thoughts on the business side of building a successful photography business in a small community.
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