Todays guest needs no introduction for any photographer, especially those interested in creating beautiful portraits of women. For clients, her style of portraiture give them the experience of looking like the women in magazines and feeling beautiful. For photographers, her work is simply to die for. Obviously, I'm talking about Sue Bryce and in this interview, she teaches how to make real money from photography business right now.
Sue is a multi-award winner of some seriously cool awards including the WPPI's Premier Grand Award and Australian Portrait Photographer of the year multiple times. She's also one savvy business woman and fantastic teacher. Interestingly, Sue is seen as the face of Creative Live but in reality, her prime source of income remains portrait photography.
I sent out 1200 copies of my special offer and within two weeks I had 131 sittings booked in, pretty soon we were doing $15,000 a week, all from a garage in the country.
If you are a follower of Sue, you will be aware that she has a unique ability to change and adapt her business model to suit the way she likes to work and what her clients want. I was intrigued to hear what she's doing in her business now and that it's an adaption of what wedding photographers have always been offering their clients. Not only does Sue have set prices, she's also getting paid upfront and before the scheduled portrait photography session.
Here's some more of what we cover:
- How Sue became a business woman after learning how to be a photographer
- How valuing your photography work has a direct influence on the money you can earn
- Creating a product that you love and the market loves is the key to financial success as a photographer
- Why Sue only sells one single package and chooses to averages $3300
- Managing her time between teaching workshops to shooting for clients
- Sue's belief that she's not the best shooter but is just lucky to have a great system
- Why you need to talk less during your sales appointments to see your sales skyrocket
- Using Facebook as a networking tool
- The downside of using Facebook as a marketing tool – it can disappear overnight
- Facebook business page vs personal page, avoiding the pitfalls
- Don't have your business banned from Facebook like Sue did
- Why you absolutely must drive your traffic back to your website at all times
- Using your blog as an archive for Facebook posts
- How to make money as a photographer
- If you're getting bored with your photography, it's a sign that you're starting to make money
- Repetition can cause the death of an artist but is a great way to build a money making business for photographers
- Why you need to find ways to be stimulated and motivated by your photography
- Shifting from desperate-tortured-artist-drama-queen to finding a system that works
- Learn how Sue managed to increase her sales from $400 to $1800 overnight
- Putting up a price tag and calling it a product in order to sell something
- One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a photographer is not knowing how to price your products
- A viable business model is a product that sells and the market loves
- Identifying what your product is
- How to compute your average sales and why you need to know that figure
- Realising how easy it is to increase your prices
- Your number one goal is to always strive to lift your average sales, Sue shares how
- How to generate more portrait bookings
- Using photography vouchers to market and network with clients
- The importance of being consistent and being visible with your marketing plan
- The irony of not having any marketing plan for your business yet knowing too well how the competition is doing
- The one thing that hinders photographers from being successful in their business
- Third party marketing
- Create as many evangelists in your business as much as you can
- Why Sue prefers giving someone a free shoot with a $2000-worth of product rather than spending time doing cold calls
- Tapping into community/network leaders to bring in more sales from their network
- Photography promotions will only work if you properly educate your clients
- Why Sue doesn't use the word FREE in her marketing campaigns
- When is the best time to start discussing price with clients who call about their vouchers
- Why $400 is not a bad sale if it cover costs
- How to react and follow up when a sale session goes bad
- The big 3 questions Sue asks when a sale session does go bad
Listening back to this interview, I've taken more notes than any previous interview. Sue is a businesswoman, gifted with an incredible talent for photography and an ability to teach and share what she knows almost unconsciously. Every answer, every sentence from Sue held a lesson. I know you'll love this episode if you're serious about improving your photography business. When I say improve, what I mean is make it more profitable, lots more.
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 implementable content from where we dive deeper into some of the earlier topics plus some new ones that I pushed hard for that include:
- Business is a system and that's what most photographers fail to realise
- What Sue Bryce suggests to great photographers who can't make money on their own
- Giving away 50% of a successful business is better than giving nothing away crappy business
- Understanding why Sue is satisfied with her current price even if she could potentially triple it
- Why you should be using YouTube to market your photography products
- What kind of videos you should be uploading to YouTube right now
- The difference of posting your product in Facebook vs posting a behind-the-scene video in YouTube
- Video tactics for more engagement
- How to help people to find your videos in YouTube
- Videos in Pinterest versus video in YouTube
- The importance to use Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter
- Why Sue doesn't mind not having a kick-ass website
- What Sue would do if she were to start over again in her business today and why she would be a lot richer today
- Sue's current workflow
- Focusing your business only on what your client wants
- For Sue, looking at other photographers means having to compete with them
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.
If you have any questions that I missed, a specific question you'd like to ask or if you just want to say thanks for coming on the show, feel free to add them below.
If you'd like an easy way to show Sue your thanks, and support for the show at the same time, click the link to create a tweet and automatically let her know you're listening: https://photobizx.com/sue
The Resources Page
Remember the ever expanding resources page that has a listing of products, programs, hardware, books and directories mentioned in each episode of the show. If you’re looking for something that a guest has mentioned on a previous episode but just can’t remember who or what it was – you’ll find it listed in order on the resources page.
iTunes ratings, reviews and Shout-Outs
Each week before recording the podcast I check iTunes for any reviews and each week I'm excited to see what you've had to say about the podcast. This week I was blown away to see two fantastic reviews! Thanks you so much to:
Jon P Shar from the USA
Ross Hurley of Ross Hurley Photography located at Kent in the UK
Sincerely, thanks so much for your ratings and reviews, I appreciate the time you've taken and it's a big help for the show. It's these iTunes reviews that make a big difference to the podcast being ranked well and found in the iTunes store. If you have the time and are happy to leave an honest rating and review, head over to iTunes.
Don't feel your comments have to be long, involved or gushy, an honest opinion is all I ask. Don't be shy about leaving your business name in the review either – that way I can add a link in the show-notes and show my appreciation with a proper thanks and a Google loving back-link to your website.
Do You Have a Question about Your Business or Marketing?
If you'd like to get in touch, ask a question or make a suggestion for the show, you can email me firstname.lastname@example.org, find me on Twitter https://twitter.com/andrewhellmich or on Facebook at https://photobizx.com/facebook – I'd love to hear from you!
Light Blue Studio Management Software
I finally took the plunge and have installed Light Blue onto our studio computers and Linda is in charge of learning, implementing then teaching all of us about the software. It's not something she's excited about.
So far, the video tutorials have been a big help as has the email support from Hamish. I'll update you as the implementation takes place and fill you in on our experience as we go.
Jean Smith Workshop is almost Full
Jean Smith appeared on the podcast in episode 37 and really opened some eyes when it comes to photographing family portraits and selling her images. She has a fantastic business that allows her to live a wonderful lifestyle and she's coming to Brisbane, Australia to teach a small, intimate lifestyle photography workshop February 6th and 7th.
Topics she'll be covering include style and creativity, posing and working with your subject, using equipment creatively, natural lighting, artificial lighting, workflow, post processing and business.
There will also be a live shoot and meals are included – sounds awesome!
Email Jean at email@example.com for more information or you can find more information here: www.jeansmithphotography.com/blog/australia-workshop.
Here are some links to Jean's website, blog and FB page if you want to check more of her work:
Commenting on PhotoBizX and the Comment Luv Plugin
Long term listeners will know that I installed the Comment Luv plugin on the PhotoBizX website to not only encourage you to leave comments and get involved following each episode but to also provide you with a ‘do-follow' link to your website or blog post.
To qualify for a ‘do-follow' link, you need to have at least two comments approved and published in an attempt to prevent spammers gaining links to dodgy sites.
There has been some news that Google is penalising websites that are providing do follow links to spammy sites. This isn't new but an update to their algorithm in 2012 means they are much more strict about the penalties in regards to rankings. One SEO expert that I've interviewed (episode 3) and trust is William Bay from Flaunt Your Site who recently published an article about the plugin and warning about having the plugin installed on a website.
After more research at my end and definitely not wanting to harm the ranking of your site or mine, I've found that if the comments are relevant to the post and the links are also relevant, there is no problem. If you've ever checked the comments on PhotoBizX, you'll know there isn't a single spammy comment anywhere. I've taken great lengths in moderating every comment that comes through and all are legitimate on the site.
If you are still concerned about a link to your site, simply leave a comment and don't link to your site or blog posts. If you feel your comments are relevant as is the link, continue to use the comments as a way to build back links to your site.
Here's an interesting and relevant article if you'd like more information:
Links to people, places and things mentioned in this episode:
That's it for me this week, hope everything is going well for you in life and business!
If you've been enjoying the podcast, I'd love for you to tell another photographer about it – it could be in a Facebook Group you're a part of, a photography forum, with a photographer friend or on twitter.
If you do have a twitter account, simply click here: https://photobizx.com/tweet or use the share buttons below.
Thanks and speak soon Andrew