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FAQ : Workflow + Starting a business

March 25, 2011
filed in News
ast week, I tweeted about some FAQ questions from some of my twitter followers. These are the questions I received. I want you all to know that my answers below are strictly based off my opinion and how I personally work. Everyone does things differently. 
Carissauribe asked : When you were first starting out, was word of mouth how you got business?  
YES! This is the BEST way to get business. I cannot say enough good things about my past clients I have worked with. They are literally amazing billboards walking around for me and I CANNOT thank them enough. When I first started, I helped out with some weddings for free. I got a few jobs under my belt and when I felt comfortable, I began charging for my services. After one job, either someone at the wedding or a friend of a friend will likely tell someone about you if you did a great job. Having your name circulated around friends will spark a word of mouth business. Above all else, your goal should be to please your clients. Go above and beyond to provide them the best service possible! THAT is what will make your clients want to spread the word about you.  
KellyLanePhoto asked : How did you market yourself to build your business? What worked best?  
To be honest, my biggest marketing tool has been word of mouth. When you are on the job, people are watching! Having cards on you at all times is super important when working weddings. Be prepared to give your card to anyone that asks. When I first started, I did a bridal show to get my name around town. It worked the first time when my price point was a bit lower, but as I continued to shoot more weddings, I raised my price and my biggest advertisement was word of mouth. Facebook, twitter, and communicating with wedding planners is a great way to market yourself. I suggest giving your cards to wedding planners and possibly offering to do shoots for free. This is how you will get work to put on your blog and before you know it, you'll have more followers looking at it!  
elisabethcarol asked : Do you book your brides via internet or meet in person first? What's your workflow once a client contacts you?  
I prefer to be contacted through e-mail first. Once I get a feel for what a bride is looking for via e-mail, we then set up a time to meet over coffee. I usually can tell if we are a good fit for each other just over e-mails. It's easy to tell what they are looking for just by asking a few simple questions. I LOVE getting to know a client personally face to face so that we can initially build trust between each other before moving forward with the booking process. I bring my Ipad to my client meeting and scroll through my look book with each bride and groom and answer any questions they have about the process of the day. I strongly believe it's super important to go through what a wedding day looks from a photographers standpoint. Having a prepared schedule helps brides understand why having a detailed schedule is so important for photography.  
DeborahZoe asked : Id love some post processing tips or lighting tips ;) :  
Once a wedding is complete, we upload all of our photos to lightroom. After saving the wedding on two hard drives (back up drives) I then begin the editing process. I like to edit as I go through each photo. I can quickly tell which photos I will be deleting and which photos I will keep and edit. As far lighting goes, I often hear from beginning photographers that they are afraid to shoot with the sun. My word of advice is to NOT to be afraid of the sun. Sun is a bit hard to avoid at a wedding and if you are constantly looking for shade, you might miss out of some gorgeous lighting!  
This past week, we photographed a wedding in beautiful Palm Springs. I am continually learning how to photograph in different lighting situations because every wedding has a different schedule. Usually when a bride and groom do a first look, the sun is bright and high in the sky. This CAN be a tricky way to shoot if you haven't practiced. For those that are afraid of the sun, take a day and try doing this : Always put your subjects in FRONT of the sun. My suggestion is to never have a bride and groom looking AT the sun but always having the sun behind them. It gives them a nice glow around them and they also wont be squinting :)  
Hope this helps! Please feel free to leave any comments for my next post. I'd love to see more of your questions and hope that I can help to answer them the best I can!  
Below are three photos of circumstances that I have had to shoot into BRIGHT sun. All around 1-2PM. Britney and David's wedding was almost entirely in bright sun. After the ceremony and towards the end of their portrait time, the sun had already set and we had some gorgeous light left.  
Britney and David saw each other around 2PM and it was quite bright that day. No clouds whatsoever! I actually loved how soft the photos turned out. I put Britney and David facing AWAY from the sun and then worked around them.
Kelly and Brad's wedding was GORGEOUS with the Cabo San Lucas coastline in the background. It was extremely BRIGHT, but I was able to position them so the sun was to the side of them and I could still get a gorgeous angle on Kelly's face. 
Canon 50mm 1.2, FStop- 2.2, Shutter Speed : 1/3,200
Kyra and Johnny's portraits were taken a bit later in the day. Around 4PM the sand on the beach can act as a natural reflector, which in this case I LOVED. It helped brighten their portraits which I personally like. Shooting with the sun can be done in so many different ways and this is just MY style.
&adminVictoria and Shaun had a first look outside around 2PM and the sun was super bright. I positioned them so both their faces were shaded and the sun added a beautiful glow behind them.
Staci and Trae saw each other around 1PM and I loved their portraits around this fountain because it added a bit of a reflection. Look for natural reflectors in your surrounding area.
This photo of Amy and Cliff's wedding was shot around 3PM in bright sunlight. Again, I have positioned them with the sun behind them.

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