As we ring in 2014 most of us photographers take time to look back on things that worked for us & recognize things that did not. Some of us are making new business plans and making small changes to have an even better year ahead. Taking a peek into someone else’s successful photography business to see how they do things can be a priceless way to increase the profitability of our own businesses. This month we are highlighting Terina Matthews Photography in Murieta, California. She has some amazing things to say and gives us a lot of insight into her thoughts and business ways. Enjoy reading her thoughts & then head on over to her Facebook page & website and take a look!
Pinterest: Terina Matthews
Here are the questions we asked her:
What is the most valuable business advice you have ever gotten?
– Don’t worry what other’s are doing…only worry about how you are doing and how you can do better then you were yesterday.
– Share your knowledge with others and you will be blessed.
– Never stop learning and growing “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten” Tony Robbins
In no more than 12 words, how would you describe your brand?
When I look at my images, I see/think: Clean, Simple and Real. I try to tell a story of who the people are through my photography. No smoke and mirrors. Just them.
Is there something special you do when your business reaches a goal?
I generally reward myself with equipment. Like a new lens or laptop (recent upgrades) or I may reward my family with a trip or getaway…because this business can take away time from the people that we live with so I make sure that I show them how much I appreciate them for helping me get to where I am.
What is your favorite tool that helps run your studio?
Thats a hard one…I have several can’t live without tools that help me run my business. My PASS gallery for sharing galleries with my clients. Love that they can have immediate access to download and share their purchased images in full resolution and it looks beautiful too. I can even upload images of weddings immediately so that between the ceremony and reception, guests can see some favorite shots right away from their smartphones and iPads/tablets! Photoshop 6 and Lightroom for editing (Must have tools for every photographer). A recent upgrade which has already been a huge success is changing from a traditional “blog” to an online narrative with Exposure.com. It allows me a quicker upload of pictures so that I can tell my clients story in pictures from beginning to end. After all, I am a photographer and pictures are what I want people to see. It is just beautiful the way they have set it up and really is much faster and easy to use.
What product do you sell most of?
Wrapped canvases. I would say 85% of all my clients purchase canvas.
How do you nurture your creativity?
If I feel like I’m in a rut, I do a couple different things – 1) Attend a workshop of a photographer I admire (Never stop learning & growing). Not only is it education, but it’s a break from the day to day. You get new perspective and you get to hang out with other people who have the same passion as you do…and generally make some new friends along the way. 2) Organize a stylized shoot! Nothing says creativity more than this! I love when a vision in my head becomes a reality through my lens.
What is the best application investment you‘ve ever made?
Besides CS6 and LR… Photo Mechanic! This is a recent purchase this past year and has helped me in a couple ways – makes culling 10X faster and made me realize I didn’t need to take 10 shots of basically the same thing. I became more confident that I wasn’t missing anything by only taking 2 shots and moving on…
What is the best equipment investment you’ve ever made?
Another hard one…because I have made several major investments that help me in my business. My camera body Nikon D700, Computers: 27″IMac and MacBook Pro, Several Lenses (I always buy Nikkor lenses – learned my lesson a long time ago buying less expensive off brand lenses) and probably the biggest piece of mind investment was my Drobo external hard drive system – it mirrors one hard drive to another up to 4 external hard drives. So if one fails…you have up to 3 backups!
What’s your advice for better profits?
Over the years I have revamped my pricing. I think where I am now has been my most successful pricing ever. I keep it simple. I price my session fee (whether it be portrait or wedding) at a price point where I make the amount I feel that my time is worth. That way, if a client doesn’t order anything extra, I feel that I have given them something of value and I have been compensated for the service that I have performed. I also don’t offer too many “things”. That gets too complicated for both me and my client. I have simple, well laid out packaging and limited a la carte items. What I offer, I have samples of so that my client has a tangible item to see.
Have you had to change your game to stay ahead in the photography world?
That is an astounding yes! I have had to do several things to stay up in this very competitive business. First,when I started, I was a film photographer over 18 years ago. When digital cameras became available, I was hesitant to go full bore because of the already large investment I made in my equipment. I did a lot of research and purchased my first DSLR to play with but still used film as my primary. About 5 years ago, with film labs harder to find, I made the switch to full digital. But I did my homework before buying just anything. If I wanted to charge/maintain professional prices, then my equipment needed to reflect that. From the camera body to my lenses…I wanted only top quality, professional equipment. I had done the same when purchasing my original film equipment and I wanted to maintain that with this new step for my business. Have you ever heard the saying “Dress for Success?” Same goes with photography equipment. Anyone can go to a warehouse store and buy a consumer DSLR, but if I’m a professional then my equipment must shout “She’s a professional!” And with quality equipment coupled with experience and education, it shows in my finished product.
And then, it is how I go into each session, working with each client that makes the whole thing a unique experience. I try to customize sessions to reflect the personality of the client. I don’t like the cookie cutter look session to session…and I feel that my clients appreciate it. I get to know them on a personal level. I build a relationship with them. I don’t want to be their photographer for one session. I want to be their family’s photographer who captures all the important events in their life, one session at a time. Just one example of this, last year alone, 5 of my wedding clients had been my clients previously as High School Senior Portrait clients. Besides making me feel old and nostalgic I felt so blessed that these families trusted me with some of the most precious and treasured times of their lives.
The Business Spotlight blog post is sponsored by Rebooku, a fantastic online company. I have had the opportunity in the past week to use their services and it has been EXCELLENT! I am adding them to my workflow immediately.
Here is what Terina had to say about her experience using the Rebooku services:
I tried Rebooku recently and have to say I was so happy with their turnaround time. I uploaded my images and within just a couple of days they had my order back for me to view. I had a question and emailed them and then they were very quick to respond. In this industry, you don’t have time to waste so I was very happy that they were on top of it with their speed! I look forward to working with them again.
Our goal at Modern Teen Style is to help you build, develop and grow the best business that you can. We hope that you have found this article useful. If you have any suggestions, please let us know. We would love to hear from you.
Have a wonderful day & come back and visit often!
Katie is a Photographer located in Rocklin, California. She is believes in capturing the moments, details & expressions that we long to preserve. She enjoys shooting High School Seniors, Teens & Families. You can view more of her work at www.katiehughesphotography.com & on Facebook.