AIBP Featured Photographer | Brooke Hewitt-Morgan
Name: Brooke Hewitt-Morgan
Business Name: Captured Essence Photography
Where do you operate your business? Nanaimo, Vancouver Island
Facebook Page URL: https://www.facebook.
Instagram Handle: Capturedessencephoto
Pinterest Account: Capturedessence
Camera Used: Canon 5DM111
Lens Choices: Sigma 50mm 1.4
Processing Software Used: Lightroom, Photoshop CC
Do you use any actions? Yes
Do you retouch and if so can you give me a quick rundown on if you use any plugins, etc? I use Portrait + for skin and Florabella actions and some that I created on my own.
What most people want to know is how you market to your clients. Have you qualified who is your ideal client? I run a pretty active VIP group and that is how I market to most of my clients. I also get a lot of referrals (but I currently don’t offer a referral program, things to work on in the New Year) from past clients and from my gym.
The gym I belong to in my town is the most expensive one, and it works out well to market to the clientele as they are already working on loving themselves.
My ideal client is what I like to call the “lost ladies”. She is anywhere in her 30-50’s and she’s forgotten she’s sexy and sensual! Life has happened and she got caught up in kids, and work, and relationships and we offer a fantastic experience that reignites the sensuality within.
I’d love to add into the article any inspiring client stories you might have. Also, have you had any issues with clients that you would like to share how you resolved them? I think the most inspiring thing for me is when clients come back or call and let me know that the experience changed them. I’ve had husbands hug me in a grocery store when there wife introduces me as the photographer. And it’s not about the photos, it is but it isn’t. It’s about seeing yourself differently so that is what inspires me to keep doing my job.
As for issues with clients I honestly have had mostly great experiences (and pricing myself higher helped with that). When I was starting out something I ran into was clients bringing no wardrobe or a wardrobe that was horrible! I’m talking pilled, ill fitting, tacky etc. So as a result I started working with a white sheet and building a wardrobe closet and both of those things helped me deal with the client wardrobe fiasco but also it helped launch the white sheet sessions in my studio and they are always popular.
Do you have a physical or digital “welcome” product you give the clients? I send a welcome email and link a pinterest board with lingerie inspiration. I also have a Spark to send https://spark.adobe.com/page/
How do you sell to your clients? Can you provide info on your sales process and your pricing? I do in person sales in my studio about a week after the session. I charge $300 for a session and include hair & makeup. After the session clients order albums, digital collections and artwork. Albums start at $595, artwork starts at $350 and digital images at $200
What products perform best in your studio? Albums. 90% of clients want an album and the 8×8 leather album is our most popular.
Best describe your workspace. Do you have a studio or work from home? How large is your space? What are the challenges with it? What works really well for you? I have two spaces. I have an office for editing and storage in my home and it’s actually just a corner in my bedroom. My studio is actually in my sisters home (we work together and she is my makeup artist/hairdresser) and it is about 10×12. The largest challenge is space for sure, trying to fit everything in and make the room look large is always a challenge. Also, between the two of us, we have 7 kids – so, that is a challenge too.
Do you have any plans to change and/or grow from your space in the near future? Possibly. We have talked about moving and then I would look for a home with a dedicated space.
Do you keep strict hours of operation with your clients? No. I do try and book weekday mornings but will take weekend bookings too.
Natural Light, Studio Light, combination of styles? What’s your preference? What are your strengths and weaknesses with lighting, if any? Natural light is my preference but I do have constant lights and flashes to use in the event of a darker day or the client requesting a more dramatic portrait.
Do you have makeup artists you work with in your studio? As I mentioned earlier I work with my sister, Lindsay. She is a hairdresser and makeup artist so all of my clients are pampered by her before the session. She also stays and helps with lighting, setup, and changes to hair & makeup throughout the session. Her pay is $200 per client.
How long have you been in business? What were you doing before you started your photo business? I have been a photographer for 12 years (yikes!) and a boudoir photographer for 5 years. Before I was a retail sales manager.
Did you go to school for photographer or are you self taught? I was hired actual by Sears to manage a portrait studio in the Lower Mainland. It was a high volume studio so they need someone to manage staff and sell to clients. I was introduced to the actual photography as a backup and I was hooked! I then left my job and moved back to the island and my husband bought me my first canon. I then taught myself how to use my camera and soaked up as much information as possible to make something of my photography.
Did you always want to be a photographer or was it something that came later in life? I loved photography when I was a kid. I used to dress up my sister while I was babysitting and make her my model. But I forgot about it about my love for photography in my teens and didn’t pick it up again until I was 24. Now holding a camera in my hand it feels complete.
What is your biggest struggle in this business? Self doubt. At least for me. I have a hard time believing that my art is worth it sometimes and it’s a reoccurring feeling unfortunately. I have learned to surround myself with people who believe in me and to follow my art and stay true to who I am and how I see things and as time goes on I close the gap of self doubt.
Is there a reason you shoot boudoir and do you shoot any other genre? I do shoot portraits as well as boudoir. I used to also shoot babies, and weddings but just found my passion is in boudoir. This was the first year I didn’t shoot a wedding in the last 8 years and it was amazing!
If you knew someone who wanted to be a photographer, and could give them one piece of important advice, what would that be? Probably shoot everything, soak in all the information and continuously practice. Look to improve and make adjustments to get there.
Have you ever done a boudoir session yourself, if you are a female (sorry guys?) Do you think it’s something that is important for female boudoir photographers to do? Yes, I have! I’ve done two to date and am planning my third! I do think it is super important and it helps me relate to my clients in a different way. It also helps me appreciate me more and see the real value in printed work!
How do you feel about the male / female debate regarding boudoir photographers? I don’t get it. I always say to potential clients “pick me if you LOVE my work”. So I hope that everyone would do the same, it’s not about a male or female photographer – it’s about choosing someone who will capture you the way you want to be seen.
What do you do to avoid burn-out? Is there ever a time when you just want to throw your camera out the window?: Yes, some seasons are nuts! During those times I am super thankful for a supportive husband. For online grocery shopping, and a streamlined editing process.
What do you love about the business? The impact on everyday Women! I love the moment when my clients fully invest in the experience and let go! I also love when they come back and see the images for the first time! Ooooo and when I receive packages with client images!
What do you hate about the business? The computer work. Somedays it’s not much fun at all!
Are you a member of any professional photo organizations like PPA, WPPI? What benefit do you feel you get by being a member? Just AIBP
Do you compete and do you have any opinions on it? Yes I do and I love seeing all of the submissions! And anytime I’ve won has been such a high!
Favorite Food? Coffee! Is that a food?
One guilty pleasure in life? Nails, I have fake nails and I love them!
What is your favorite piece of clothing? A kimono! I am curvier and the kimono hides a multitude of sins plus it looks fantastic! And I own several.
What’s one song on your playlist? Slow Hands
What’s your favorite movie genre? Example? Action. Die Hard!
Favorite shoes to wear? Toms but where I live I spend a lot more time in boots!
What are you currently reading? James Patterson – Private India. I read smut, I know!
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would that be? New Zealand. My best friend lives there and I have yet to go.
If you could go back and do over anything in your life, what would that be? I don’t think I would. Not that my life is perfect. But I do find that as life goes on some of the harder part have brought the sweetest rewards, and some of them aren’t seen until years later so I wouldn’t change anything.
Actually, I would go fishing with my Dad. He died from cancer earlier this year and I wish I had gone fishing more.
If you could meet and photograph someone famous, who would that be and why? I’m not sure. I am notoriously bad with names so I don’t know a lot of famous peoples names.
What do you struggle with the most in life? Motherhood and the concern that I’m screwing it all up! And planning. I am kind of a fly by the seat of my pants girl so I am working on planning.
Are you married, single, have kids, husband/wife? Is life a juggling act for you? I am married to a wonderful man for 12 years now. We have a 21 year old son, a 10 year old son and a 7 year old daughter. And two fur babies. Life is a juggling act for sure! My oldest is getting married so planning a wedding is nuts! And my youngest son has some learning disabilities and that makes day to day life a challenge for sure.
Who inspires you most in life? Work? My mom inspires me most in life. She just keeps going and never gives up. She doesn’t accept anything less and I admire her so much! In work I love Sue Bryce, not a boudoir photographer but she empowers women and actually inspired me to start out on this adventure.
If you could provide one single piece of advice to influence a young person’s in life, what would it be? Find what you love and then do that!