Is it really already the end of May? That means we are almost halfway through 2014. Where does the time go? I know as a mother I ask myself this question many many times. I want to capture time and keep it in a bottle. My little ones have grown and even my bigger ones are growing. The best way to keep all of that close to us? Photographs. They make time stand still. They capture what our minds will only hold onto for a short time. They create emotion unlike any other form of media. They pull us together when times are tough. They make us laugh. They make us cry. They mean everything to us. We cannot always see it now, but 20 years from now, we will be grateful we have them.
Our Spotlight on Business this month is coming from Lisa Smiley Photography. Lisa has an amazing way of capturing emotion in her photographs. Read on to learn more about Lisa & what makes her so fabulous. Take a few minutes to check out her work, you won’t be disappointed. A big thanks to our sponsor Rebooku.
Here are the questions we asked her:
What is the most valuable business advice you ever got?
I think the best advice I have received is two-fold. The first part is in regard to clients and how it is so important to make them feel cared for and amazing. I pamper my clients and do all that I can to provide them with excellent service and give them beautiful product and packaging. I love being pampered and I love pampering others, so it is fun for me. The other half of that advice was to charge what I am worth. There is so very much that goes into running a photography business and it all needs to be taken into account when pricing services and product. A mere cost of goods analysis is not sufficient. In order to justify the time away from my family and to sufficiently pay for my expenses, equipment, product and continued eduation, much more needs to be needs to be factored into the equation. I recommend Sarah Petty’s book “Worth Every Penny” for anyone who wants to know more about this.
In no more than 12 words, how would you describe your brand?
Clean, fresh, light, authentic and timeless.
Is there something special you do when you reach your business goals?
Wow. This is something I struggle with! I have so many goals and always seem to be reaching toward the next one. I have not even thought of doing something special when I reach those goals. Just reaching them seems pretty special to me – but perhaps I will take that into consideration now!
What is your favorite tool that helps you run your studio?
Having a bookkeeper is key for me. I am not a numbers person and really don’t have the time to focus on the details of bookkeeping, so having a bookkeeper is fantastic. The other necessary tool, of course is Photoshop. I love the artistic outlet of it and just love the polish I can add to my images in the program.
What product to you sell most?
Standout wall portraits are my most requested product.
How do you nurture your creativity?
I draw a lot of inspiration from the beauty around me. Having two boys in sports and other activities, I seem to be in the car much these days and as I drive around and see the beauty in God’s creation – the fields, the sky, the flowers, the sunsets (you may have noticed if you follow my instagram account!) – I constantly picture getting clients out there and what I would do with them; what I would have them wear; how I would pose them and have them interact with eachother. I actually have to use a lot of self control not to jump out of the car and get everyone to try out my ideas!
What is the best application investment you’ve ever made?
I love my Shoot & Sell app!! It is such an amazing resource and aid in my business. I am able to show clients what their images will look like on THEIR walls, to scale. It is great because I get the image from the client before our ordering session and I have a few displays prepared for them in advance. It is so neat to show them and they are always impressed. It also is a great way to show a client that and 8×10 is not a wall portrait.:)
My best investment so far has been upgrading to a Nikon D3s. I love my baby! The way it handles low light is out of this world! It is also smoking fast for sessions with quick toddlers and my boys’ soccer games.
What’s your advice for better profits?
My best advice is to conduct in person ordering sessions. Hands down. I so often hear that people don’t have time to do this. My sessions are 1 hour long and they save me and my clients so much time! The process is more efficient and the way I conduct them really helps my clients. When I used to post online galleries in the first year of my business, I would find that my clients would struggle with mulling over the images for hours and days and not have the tools they need to narrow their choices or choose the product best for them. This really streamlines the process and has increased sales due to being able to show clients product, collections and just simply advise them with detailed information on their own personal desires for their images. It goes back to caring for my clients – and giving them personalized attention.
Have you had to change your game plan to stay ahead in the photography world?
I really have not. I am just sticking to doing what I love, truly. I have had a couple different careers in my life, including practicing law, so having found what I love, I am just doing what I feel I’m meant to do. I’m blessed to do it and consider it a gift from God. As a gift, He will see to bless me as He sees fit so I really don’t worry about “staying ahead”. I will always be right where I need to be if I’m staying in His will.
Our fabulous sponsor for this feature article is Rebooku.com. They offer a variety of services, from photo editing, retouching & album design. Lisa had the chance to use their services. Here is what she had to say about it:
“The artistic editing completed by Rebooku was very professional and well done. I was impressed with what they could do (taking out a pacificer and lengthening a dress, for example). These are things that I could have taken the time to do, but it would have taken too much time and really would not have been worth the time I would have spent. It is great that I can send them images that need a little help and for a reasonable fee, have them delivered right back to me in a short time. Time is money and that is why I highly recommend them!”
Here are a few samples of their amazing work! Give them a try today. I promise you will not be disappointed.
Have a great day!