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Featuring Cliff Ingram

Featuring Cliff Ingram

This week’s featured photographer is Cliff Ingram of Ingram Images in Princeton, Indiana

 
Where do you operate your business?

In Princeton, Indiana

Your Website

Your Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/IngramImages/

Your Pinterest account

https://www.pinterest.com/ingramimages/

Your Instagram account

https://www.instagram.com/ingram_images/

Your Twitter account

https://twitter.com/IngramImages

Other Social Media

http://ingramimages.tumblr.com

 

Technical Specs:

 
Camera used

Canon EOS 5D Mkii

Lens choices

Canon 24-70 f/2.8 series

Processing Software (just provide the names of the one’s you use)

Photoshop Creative Cloud

Do you use any actions?

I use the NIK Suite, especially Glamour Glow, and the smoothing tools

Do you retouch and if so can you give me a quick rundown on if you use any plugins, etc?

I do most of the standard dodge and burn, and clone and healing tools, but I really try to limit them because I want my clients to see they’re beautiful on their own without the help of Photoshop.

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CLIENTS:

 
What most people want to know is how you market to your clients.  Have you qualified who your is your ideal client?  

Well, my ideal client is – female. Seems like every single woman I’ve ever come across could do better when it comes to their self-perception. These are the clients I’d like to reach. And I seem to do it mostly by word of mouth. A client will tell friends, and I get another client, and then another and another. After setting prices according to what it costs to do business for me, I’ve found I’m mid-priced in my area, and I’m not afraid to set up payment plans for those who need. Someone wrote on my page earlier this week, “Some day I hope I am as brave as the beautiful ladies you have photographed. I imagine, like many other people, I can’t look in the mirror without seeing only my odd shape and fat, and having a photo taken horrifies me, still longing for the image I had of myself at 19, now so long gone that burkas have a slight appeal to me. Thank you Cliff for doing what you do, restoring confidence and dignity where once there was none.” This is who I am trying to reach.

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. That is always something that can hugely benefit the readers.

Someone wrote about me this week on THEIR Facebook, “He changed MY life. He gave me back the permission to feel at home in my own skin, he gave me back the permission to feel like a woman, and after a very difficult ending in my life he gave me strength to see myself as strong. He did this with his camera, and his vision and his very supportive presence. It may not be a way that you find useful in your own personal journey, but as a woman, supporting other women, who may be looking for a way out of their own person struggle and find their way in front of Cliff’s camera…for that reason, watch these video’s, like his page, and sing his praises. He is an amazing man, with an amazing gift, that is doing amazing things! He helped change MY life! ❤️ you Cliff!!”

And when a client writes, “You’d be hard pressed to find even an inch of my body that isn’t scarred, stretched, or jiggling. But I AM BEAUTIFUL and no one can convince me otherwise <3 my body is all mine and it's been through the wringer and now it's more a work of art than its ever been. I'm so in love with these photos, everyone, go see Cliff Ingram, he'll make you feel like the incredible human that you are!!!" then I know I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing with my camera.

Do you have a “welcome” product you give the clients and can you share that if you do.  Thanks.

I don’t have a welcome type product, but will always make a point of meeting with a prospective client in person, beforehand. It may seem odd to some to be in front of a man wearing little to nothing and posing for photos, so knowing who I am makes a big difference. We go over all the things that we need to go over in that meeting.

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SALES:

 
This is probably one of the most important things that the readers want to know.  How do you sell to your clients?  Can you provide info on your sales process and your pricing.  I’d like to be able to provide numbers on what you charge for a session and what your range is for your products, like albums for instance, but if you don’t feel comfortable sharing to much, just give me what fits your comfort level.


I have two basic session levels but most boudoir sessions will get charged $250 up front. I do then give them $100 off the purchase of their album or other product that they choose, and most clients will end up spending $200-500 extra after that. I usually do a mini-reveal right after the session – with limited retouching. I’m kind of a minimalist on the retouching anyway. Then I narrow it down with some digital proofing and then the album goes into production. Seems hard for some of us to ‘sell’ and I fall into that trap. I can talk a woman out of her clothes and into the realization that she’s more beautiful than she ever thought she could be, but asking for a check seems to be more difficult

What products perform best in your studio? 

 The leather-bound albums from ACI – the larger the better, and I use square sizes (8×8 or 10×10) so that I can make a ‘centerfold’ that spans the book. Clients seem to like that a lot

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STUDIO:

 
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?  Can you please include a photo or two of it, if possible.

I have a studio on the 2nd floor of a building on my downtown square. It’s about 2,700 square feet, and except for dressing/restroom/storage areas is all one space. The large, empty space seems to fit well with a lot of the ‘minimalist’ things that I do, but I do struggle to find furniture and props that I can afford that goes well with what I do. My wife says I don’t ‘keep house’ well enough and helps me with the cleaning when she can, but the large space and age of the building (dust that falls from some old bricks left during the renovation) make that difficult, so that’s a struggle.

Do you have any plans to change and/or grow from your space in the near future.

It will always be home base, I suppose. Although I would like to take Woman as Art on the road and do it in other cities.

Do you keep strict hours of operation with your clients?

 I co-host a morning radio show in addition to my photography, and my wife works 3rd shift, so my standard hours of operation aren’t what most folks’ are. So I do sessions on Sunday – but never on Friday. Not afraid to answer a message after hours, most of the time.

Natural Light, Studio Light, combination of styles? What’s your preference? What are your strengths and weaknesses with lighting, if any?

I have some AMAZING windows across the front of the studio so over the past three years I have adapted to making natural light work. My preference before that WAS studio light with as big a softball as I could possibly get because I love the light/shadow relationship I could get with that. But over the past couple of weeks I’m leaning towards the high-key stuff I can get shooting right into the windows.

Do you have makeup artists you work with in your studio?  If so, can you give me a run down of what the rate is you pay them and how you feel about the importance of that relationship.  If you don’t use them, is there a reason?

I do have a stylist that can come to the studio, at the client’s request. It’s an option that I can offer. She charges separately from my fees. At this point I just don’t have enough consistent business that would warrant having someone around, unless it is by client request.

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BUSINESS IN GENERAL:

 
How long have you been in business?  What were you doing before you started your photo business?

 Ingram Images has been around for about 12 years. Woman as Art focuses on artistic nudity and was started about 3 1/2 years ago. I recently gave it its own website not necessarily to separate it from my other clients, but because it was getting so much attention. I’ve done 4 gallery shows and some benefits featuring those images

Did you go to school for photography or are you self taught?

 Self taught. I took one college class for photography. I got a C.

Did you always want to be a photographer or was it something that came later in life?

  My parents purchased a Canon AE-1 for me in the late ’70’s and by the time I was 16 I was a kid photojournalist for the daily paper in my small town. I’ve done lots of other things – and still do (see the morning radio thing) but I will always be a photographer.

What is your biggest struggle in this business?

Generating revenue. Getting my pricing where it needs to be. I guess maybe I’m shooting myself in the foot in this area with the art project.

Is there a reason you shoot boudoir and do you shoot any other genre?  If you’re excusive, and/or recently went exclusive can you give the readers some insight into why you did.  If you’ve only ever done boudoir, again we’d love to hear why.

don’t shoot boudoir exclusively, but I’d like to. The reason why I started doing it I describe in this video: https://youtu.be/tXpm7HrTOw4

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ADVICE:

 
If you knew someone who wanted to be a photographer, and could give them one piece of important advice, what would that be?

 The camera is a tool, and just like a mechanic uses wrenches you need to know it like the back of your hand. But, just like a mechanic – there are so many other things that you need to know even better than that.

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?

 Being a dude I’m not completely qualified to answer (LOL) but I do think it’s important for us as photographers to experience what our clients experience.

How do you feel about the male / female debate regarding boudoir photographers?  

Hits pretty close to home. I think either a male or a female photographer can dishonor a client by portraying them poorly in images. Unfortunately there’s also a sinister way that a male photographer can dishonor a client, and I hear of guys who do that. The list of references that I have compiled over the years shields me from that (including a female member of local law enforcement) back me up. I still get called a pervert on social media, but I refuse to allow those small minds to keep me from what I was meant to do.

What do you do to avoid burn-out? Is there ever a time when you just want to throw your camera out the window?

 Take time off each week, at least a few hours – where I don’t even turn on the computer. My wife and I like to go for drives and do a bit of hiking and sight-seeing. And I get to pretend to be an iPhone landscape photographer.

What do you love about the business?

 The fact that I can change a woman’s life in a matter of about 3 hours. It’s a tremendous responsibility, and I can’t NOT take it seriously.

What do you hate about the business?

 I hate the way that people with cameras treat other people with cameras on social media. And that’s why I LOVE being in the AIBP. When I was 16 I was mentored briefly by an ‘early 20’s’ photojournalist at my local paper. 35 years later he still mentors me some, even though he’s traveled all over the world creating images. There’s enough images for everyone to take. There’s enough clients for everyone to have. We don’t have to be mean to one another to prove our skills, and we don’t have to be mean to one other to generate business.

Are you a member of any professional photo organizations like PPA, WPPI?  What benefit do you feel you get by being a member?

 AIBP of course, and I’m considering PPA at this time.

Do you compete and do you have any opinions on it?  AIBP runs contests regularly.  Do you participate?  If not, is there a reason you don’t?

LOVE the contests 🙂 and I’ve even won a couple of times. I wom 2 daily AIBP and one weekly AIBP, and I was named ‘best of the best’ photographer by the readers of our local newspaper.

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This image won the “Inspire Award” at an event called ‘Embrace Your Body’ last year.

More information about that benefit is here:

http://projectreveal.org/2015eyb/

 

SOME FUN MORE PERSONAL STUFF:

 
Favorite food?   

 Chinese. General Tso’s Chicken. But it has to come from a restaurant that sits on a street where the street sign is in Chinese. Clearly you cannot get that in southwest Indiana, so I have to make do with what I can get here for now.

One guilty pleasure in life?

 Sports on TV. Any sport. Any time. Any where. Usually on an app on my phone under my monitor while I”m working. And Spotify.

What is your favorite piece of clothing? 

HAHAHAHAHAAAAA – Hawaiian Shirts!!!

What’s one song on your playlist? 

 During a session – Sade. “Your Love is King”

What’s your favorite movie genre? Example?

 Is the movie “Airplane” a genre?

Favorite shoes to wear?  

 Whatever’s comfortable. I usually try to be barefoot during a session.

What are you currently reading? 

  The Body and Soul book by Susan Pizarro-Eckert – working on that. I’ve also read a book about free speech following the Revolutionary War as well that was interesting.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would that be?   

 Maho Beach on St Martin. I’m an airplane nut and I’d love to shoot the aircraft landing there – just a few feet over my head.

If you could go back and do over anything in your life, what would that be?

 Spend less time in relationships that were holding me back from what I should have been doing all along. I feel at times like I’m years behind where I could be if not for that. But I try not to think that a lot – because who I am now is because of where I have been in my life.

If you could meet and photograph someone famous, who would that be and why?

Living or dead? Marilyn Monroe. She was such a ‘chameleon’ in front of the camera….

What do you struggle with the most in life? (not photo related)

 Getting enough sleep.

Are you married, single, have kids, husband?  Is life a juggling act for you?

 Divorced and remarried. One daughter (21). My raising of kids is now done (LOL). Life is a lot simpler
 
Who inspires you the most in life? Work?

My clients. They are the ones who take the ‘big risk’ inside their own psyche when they come to see me. And there’s always a payoff for them. It’s validation for what Steven Pressfield says in ‘The War of Art’ – “The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.”

If you could provide one single piece of advice to influence a young person’s direction in life, what would that be?

Remember to learn the ropes – there’s probably a lot more of them than you think there is.
Cathy Nance
Cathy Nance

Photographer and Owner of Cathy Nance Studios - Intimate Editorial Art

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