Featuring Krista Manus

Featuring Krista Manus

This week’s featured photographer is Krista Manus of One Two One Photography in Tucson, Arizona


Where do you operate your business?

Tucson, Arizona

Your Website

Your Instagram account

Your Facebook account

Your Pinterest account

Your Twitter account

Your Snapchat account


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Technical Specs:

Camera used

Nikon D750

Lens choices

Sigma 50mm ART

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

Photo Mechanic, Lightroom, Photoshop

Do you use any actions?

DMWL Presets

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

I do some slight retouching – I LOVE my DMWL LR presets. I still tweak after I applied a preset but they are great starting points. I also run everything through a very light Portraiture.

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

I’m still looking for the perfect means to reach my clients. I’m trying out a local effort using Transit Digital Media & text marketing. We’ll see how it goes!

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.

Not one in particular – but my favorite is watching clients reactions to their images. I try very hard not to alter them (aside from the easy blemish/bruise removal) so aside from cleaning up the background (because those silly outlets are ALWAYS in the way), my retouching is limited – so they are truly seeing themselves as they are.

Do you have a physical or digital “welcome” product you give the clients and can you share that if you do. You can give me a link or email. Thanks.

I used to but I found the value wasn’t there so I simply go over the details via phone or email and then cover major things in their contract.

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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 

My sessions are $450 and include hair & makeup by my amazing team of stylists, the client’s choice of 2 looks and all the posing & direction & hand holding they need. All images are purchased separately for $100/ea. Albums and other products (3D viewfinders!) are available as add-ons.

What products perform best in your studio? 

I recently switched to primarily digital so I’m going to say albums for now!

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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 just moved into a new studio space in March and I’m so in love. I used to be in this small 220′ space that had 1 prison window and I was never comfortable shooting there. I did a couple mini sessions and a mentoring session (which went really well), but I hated using the space to shoot.

My new location is bigger – giving me a client meeting area/office, a hair/makeup & beverage bar space and a whole separate room for just shooting. Plus it has an outdoor patio area that is pretty mature so it provides a nice semi-private area for either shooting or just relaxing.

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

I’d love to grow out of this area in the future, but I think I’m probably good for a year or two – doesn’t mean I’ll stop looking though!

Do you keep strict hours of operation with your clients?

Not really. I’m trying to be better. I only shoot on Fri, Sat, Sun because I still have a day-job. But I’m happy to meet clients in the evenings as needed. I’ll stop by the office for an hour or two after work as I can – especially if my husband has something going on.

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

Natural light. I own studio lights but I’m really working on building a groove in my new space with what I’ve got.

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?

 Hair & makeup is mandatory for my main sessions. Sometimes I’ll do mini sessions that don’t include it but I always highly recommend it. When I first started I didn’t require it and it was so much more time retouching, the first session I did with hair & makeup…holy cow! Like half the editing time. Now I just enjoy the fact that the client gets to come in and relax for an hour and a half before their session, I can take that time to look over what they brought and plan out the shoot without feeling rushed.

I pay $140-150 for hair and makeup.

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

I think this is my 3rd year (I’ve lost track!). I did a little race photography before switching to boudoir. By day I’m still an engineer – my degree is actually in electrical engineering technology. An engineer that designs and builds missiles…so I’ve got that going for me.

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

I’m all self-taught. Interestingly, considering my engineering background I don’t have a huge passion for the deep & dirty technical side of photography.

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

Definitely came later in life, however I’ve always enjoyed the arts. I’ve been involved in ballet/dance since 3rd grade.

What is your biggest struggle in this business?

 Finding time for everything! Also, finding that ideal client. I know some people can put a finger on exactly who their “person” is but I feel like boudoir is so much for everyone that its hard to narrow down.

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.

Other than running races (which was a whole different business), I’ve only done boudoir. Weddings scare the shit out of me (only one chance to get it!). I really don’t like kids. Trying to coordinate families just feels like dealing with kids! I think the only adjacent ventures I’d ever undertake is glamour and maybe (that’s a very iffy maybe) engagements. So many photographers do it better than I can envision so I’m happy to let them handle that!

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

 Go take some business and marketing classes. It doesn’t matter if they are geared towards photographers. It all gives you a good understanding of the other side of your business and how to market & advertise.

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?

I haven’t done a full on session but I’ve done some modeling/mini type session when I’m in Las Vegas for WPPI. I think its so important to be on the other side of the camera – even if its not the 100% focused session that your client gets, you still can get an understanding of what it sounds like when you’re coaching a client. You have no idea how easy it is to confuse right & left when directing!

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

I think both have valuable viewpoints. I heard something awhile back and I think its true – working in a predominately male field supports this too. Female photographers will often side with you on trying to hide or camouflage your “flaws”. Men just generally think women are sexy and will pose them accordingly. I could go on and on about things I dislike about myself (my stomach, my legs, my butt, etc) but I can gather up a room full of guys who will not find a thing wrong with any of them.

With that all said, I know some women who would be more comfortable with a male photographer and others who wouldn’t dream of it (or their significant other would flip). Both are entitled to their opinions and options.

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

Sadly more often than I’d like to admit. While I usually rate persistence as a strength I also get really frustrated when I don’t see the inkling of potential. When I was doing triathlons a few years ago I figured swimming would be the hardest for me but it turned out to be easy because seeing gains was easy. I figured running would be the easiest and to this day I struggle with it because I don’t see the ‘payment’ for all my work. I will continue to stand by and throw myself at something, but if I don’t see any inkling of success on the horizon it gets kind of soul sucking.

To avoid/deal with the burn out I dance. It’s one of those places I do my hardest to keep compartmentalized. I try not to think about work or my business – I don’t even talk about my business unless asked. I’m there to escape.

What do you love about the business?

 I love that the only bureaucracy is what I create. It’s one of the most stressful and annoying parts of my day job so knowing that I’m in control of it is helpful.

But my favorite part is seeing and hearing the women I shoot. Hearing them see themselves in a different light. Knowing they walked out of our shoot with their chin raised a little higher. From experience, I cried when I saw some of the pictures from Vegas. I had no idea that’s what I looked like. I had no idea that was the person my husband saw or any of my friends (you know, when I had clothes on). I know I can’t solve every woman’s problems, but I want to be an outlet to at least turn that off for a little bit.

What do you hate about the business?

 Blogging. Oh my god, it’s horrible. I always set a goal to do it and I fail miserably. I need to outsource it but I have control issues sometimes. Like always.

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

I’m a member of WPPI and AIBP (obviously!). Community is a big part of it. When I was starting WPPI was awesome for its conference and expo. It was so nice to be in a place with so many like minded individuals.

As I’ve grown I’ve drifted away from WPPI a little bit just because my business needs have changed. I need to focus more on the behind the scenes stuff so I can set myself up for future successes.

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?

 I don’t participate. I really should but I have a hard time being vulnerable and putting myself out there. It’s been on my to-do list for awhile…I need to just put my big girl panties on and do it.

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Favorite food?   

 Oh my gosh, I think I could survive on chips & salsa. I think the real answer here is carbs. That’s a food right?

One guilty pleasure in life?

 Questionable TV. You know, Pretty Little Liars, Young & Hungry, Say Yes To The Dress…..all the stuff I watch when the hubby isn’t home 😉

What is your favorite piece of clothing? 

 As much as I love my yoga pants, I think I’m going to have to go with dresses. I don’t really have one favorite, but maybe this cute little black cotton dress with flutter sleeves. It can be casual or work dressy and its just so comfortable.

What’s one song on your playlist? 

Right now its Castle on the Hill from Ed Sheeran…who I get to see in August!

What’s your favorite movie genre? Example?

 Romantic comedies.

Favorite shoes to wear?  

 None? I’m developing plantar fasciitis so none is a bad answer lol. Ballet flats of some kind or flip flops.

What are you currently reading? 

 I just finished the Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

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

 I’ve always wanted to go to Paris but honestly I’d love to go back to either Scotland or Ireland.

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

It’s a secret!

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

 Honestly I don’t know.

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

 Being myself. Sometimes I don’t feel very much like the norm, especially in this business. My upbringing and subsequent education and career path and interests have given me a different perspective on life than some. I often shy away from being myself, opting to be whoever is needed at whatever moment. Sometimes really useful in this business and sometimes kind of maddening.

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

 Married, no kids. 3 cats. 10 chickens. It is a juggling act sometimes. I try to keep this separate but sometimes that all goes to shit.
Who inspires you the most in life? Work?

My parents. They raised me to be strong and independent and fight for myself. I don’t always do a good job at it but I try.

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

It’s ok to be you. Find a passion (at least one) and keep at it because you actually love it, not because you have to. That’s what dance is for me. I was never going to be a professional dancer but it doesn’t mean that I can’t continue to enjoy it and grow in it.

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Jen Swedhin
Jen Swedhin

Jen Swedhin is a natural light and studio photographer. Jen specializes in intimate portraiture for men, and is one of the only photographers in the industry to focus on this niche. If you are interested in offering men and couples but don't love shooting it, hire Jen! She can come to your studio, shoot men and couples for you, under your brand, and split the profits. Easy peasy. Jen is also the owner of Jen Gets Shit Done, a retouching, web design and mentoring service for boudoir photographers.


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