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Featuring Shalista Anderson

Featuring Shalista Anderson

This week’s featured photographer is Shalista Anderson of Voir Mon Amour Boudoir in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

 
Where do you operate your business?

In Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Your Website

Your Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/ShalistaBoudoir/

Your Pinterest page

https://www.pinterest.com/shalista/

Your Instagram account

https://www.instagram.com/siouxfallsboudoir/

Your Twitter account

https://twitter.com/shalista

 

Technical Specs:

 
Camera used

Canon Mark iii

Lens choices

Canon 50mm 1.2L, 85mm 1.2L, 24-70mm 2.8L, and 70-200 2.8L

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

Lightroom and Photoshop CC

Do you use any actions?

Florabella Skin Retouch

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

I do retouch cellulite, blemishes and scars upon request. I use Portraiture and rarely AlienSkin.

AlyssaSnow103

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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?  

I have a long established reputable wedding, family and senior business. When I made the move into boudoir I was able to quickly start working with previous clients who already knew and trusted me. Since then, I have outstanding word of mouth referrals. I do also do some Facebook targeted ads.

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.

I always thought of boudoir in kind of a superficial kind of way. It was sexy and fun, but not really “important” until I actually started shooting it regularly. I have had quite a few woman tell me how my images helped them think better of themselves and improve their confidence. About a year ago a women touched base about a session. She was crazy nervous and asked a million questions. I actually expected her to cancel and not go through with the shoot.

The day of the shoot she was still nervous and was shaking on the bed. She was in her 40s and had a great body and was a very beautiful woman. We completed the session and I thought she was going to run out of there. She came in for her sales appointment and ended up loving her images and buying a big beautiful album. She was still hard to read, but I knew she liked her images.

A few days later I got an email from her thanking me. She explained how she had tried to commit suicide a year ago to the day she viewed her images, and she had came a long way in seeing her worthiness and my images helped her to see what a beautiful person she was on the outside too.

It was after that email that I new my job was bigger than I even imagined.

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

Hannah0004

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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.

In our studio I do in person sales for everything. I have been in business for 13 years and I have always done in person sales because when I started, that was really the only option and I have stuck with it. I think sales is one of my strongest skills in this business. I am always working and striving for pricing that encourages bigger sales, but also leaves the client with value.

My most popular session is my Bombshell session. It’s $300 and includes hair and makeup, 2 hours of shooting and 4 looks. All of my boudoir clients purchase albums. My albums range from a 5×5 10 image album for $400 to a 70 image 12×12 for $3700. All session digitals are $2395 or 50% off with an album purchase. I want my clients to buy albums not digitals, but I do sell digitals pretty regularly. My most popular item is a 10×10 40 image album at $1450. With session fee that puts me at a $1750 average and about $300 in costs after paying the stylist and for the product. My lowest album rarely sells, but if it does, that still gives me a minimum $700 sale and I am ok with that.

I do offer a 30 min and 1 hour session without HMU as well for those on a smaller budget. The minimum book is a press printed 5×5 for $275. I hate selling that book, but leave it on there as a low cost option for these budget minded clients. We only schedule a limited about of these, but I believe in my market, to be the GO TO studio, I do need to offer something on that end. A lot of time these are young brides and some have came back for a big shoot later on. I have done 130 sessions this year and maybe had 5 of these books sell. We still end up with a happy client and a referral source.

If you have a PDF or a copy to your pricelist you don’t mind sharing, that would be great.

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What products perform best in your studio? 

 We sell albums to all clients.

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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 1700 sq foot studio. It has a great private location with large windows that work great for natural light shooting. We have a lot of space, so we house a large variety of furniture and props.


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

I would love to buy my own building, but my ultimate dream is an acreage near town with a separate building for a studio on my own private land.

Do you keep strict hours of operation with your clients?

 Yes, VERY strict. We are available weekdays 9 am to 5 pm. I spent many years of nights and weekends. I very, very rarely deviate from these times. My family and marriage suffered at one point due to work invading all aspects of my life and time so I work very hard to keep a work/family balance. I find this really easy with boudoir since I am working one on one with clients instead of groups of people. I do occasionally do family or seniors in the evenings, but never boudoir unless we were going to do an outdoor shoot.

Natural Light, Studio Light, combination of styles?  What’s your preference?  What are your strengths and weaknesses with lighting, if any?
I shoot both natural light and studio. I don’t have a preference. It just depends on the look I am going for. I tend to get lazy with studio lighting so natural light is nice for ease of use. I can pull out multi light setups if I am feeling it.

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?

Yes I work with a couple make up artists that I adore and highly value. I am sure people will be shocked by these rates, but I pay $100 for hair and makeup (BOTH, TOTAL!) by professional, industry respected artists. This is the going rate in my area. I feel that not only do these makeup artists save me time in the long run, they are so good with my clients that it starts off their sessions on the right foot, helps the client relax and gives a finished beautiful look to my girls.

Lori_lockman004

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BUSINESS IN GENERAL:

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

I have been in business since 2003, 13 years. I started a wedding photographer and then moved to family and seniors. The family and wedding market is pretty saturated here, so I began looking for new business in boudoir in 2011, I still have a handful of weddings this year and still take a small number of seniors and families.

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

I have been doing photography in one form or another since high school. I have always loved taking pictures and was self taught on film in the 90s. My first family and wedding jobs were also on film before switching to digital. I am self taught, never having taken a photography class. I read a lot of books about photography and I have taken millions of photos.

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

I have always been into photography, but I didn’t consider it as a career at first. I actually have a graphic design degree and went into design for marketing and advertising. While working at a small ad agency I was asked to do some photo still of cars in the studio because the staff photographer’s wife was ill. It stuck. A co-worker asked me to shoot her wedding and the “rest is history.” I continued to work full time but was doing more and more photography on the side. Some changes came to my employer and the path became clear. I left my full-time job in 2007 and have been only a photographer since then.

What is your biggest struggle in this business?

 I am an artist, but also a business person and breadwinner for our family. Sometimes it is hard to go to work and be creative when you are not feeling it or just don’t want to. We are high volume so I do feel burned out sometimes.

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.

I am about 75% boudoir at this point. I do still take on seniors, a handful of families and a few weddings. Two years ago I shot 23 weddings, this year I have 5. Boudoir has been very rewarding professionally and spiritually. I enjoy meeting and chatting with women like me. I really enjoy photographing them and seeing them transform in front of me. I love knowing I have given women confidence and self esteem they needed. This is actually pretty similar to senior girls, with a less sexy vibe, but I overall just really like working with woman and girls that trust me and let me be creative.

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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? 

Take lots and lots and lots of photos. Practice. Practice, Practice… and learn about business and sales. If you want a successful business, you need to know and understand the parts that actually make you money, and it’s not necessarily the images.

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 just did it this past month and it was amazing. I really am glad I was able to experience it from the client side.

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

I have no opinion.

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. Boudoir has been very successful for me the past two years and we have no had a slow season. I used to treasure (and dread) those slow months, but we simply haven’t had one. If someone has tips on battling burnout, I am all ears right now!

In the past I would take some time off, do creative projects, do workshops and chat with other photographers. We haven’t had a lot of time for that and I am needing to make that happen soon.

What do you love about the business?

 It’s different every day! I love that no two days are ever alike.

What do you hate about the business?

 Having to hustle all the time. Justifying pricing. And, like any true business owner, never truly being able to shut off thoughts about business.

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

 PPA – I honestly don’t see the point in being a PPA member anymore, but I keep it as a support of my industry.

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 generally because I don’t take the time to do so. I also have very limited clients that sign full releases so my pool of images to participate is small.

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SOME FUN MORE PERSONAL STUFF:

 
Favorite food?   

 I like a lot of things, but Indian Food is probably tops.

One guilty pleasure in life?

 I buy way too many clothes.

What is your favorite piece of clothing? 

My yoga pants.

What’s one song on your playlist? 

 Sexyback. That song just gets me going.

What’s your favorite movie genre? Example?

 Historical Dramas and Romantic Movies. I like chick flicks. Dirty Dancing, The Notebook, and things like Shawshank Redemption, Braveheart

Favorite shoes to wear?  

 Tiek Ballet Flats. Yes they are worth the money.

What are you currently reading? 

 Nothing. Just finished the Lilac Girls and haven’t started something new.

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

 Thailand

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

 I would have went to business school and got a business degree. I have made a lot of costly business mistakes learning how to be a business owner. The creative side was easy, the business side, not so much. Now I think I have a good business and have used my lessons to improve and grow as a person and business owner.

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

Brock O’hurn. Because… Brock O’Hurn

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

 Work/life balance. I have really busy kids and have a hard time juggling it all sometimes.

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

 I have been married for 14 years to Dwayne and we have 4 kids. Life is very much a juggling act. As much as I try to think I can do it all, I finally hired a cleaning lady this summer and a dog poop cleaner. It’s the little things that help… And as for the kids, it takes a village. We have a great network of neighbors and friends and that helps.
 
Who inspires you the most in life? Work?

In my work, definitely the women I meet and photograph. Everyone has such unique and beautiful stories. I love that I get to see that. In my life, it’s definitely my kids. They ground me and motivate me and always teach me lessons.

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

Whatever you do, do it with all your heart. Don’t half ass anything.
Cathy Nance
Cathy Nance

Photographer and Owner of Cathy Nance Studios - Intimate Editorial Art

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1 Comment

  • Nirusha "Roosh" Benham

    Great information! I loved hearing about how you make your smallest album work for you when you need it to so that as the “go to” studio you can still have something to offer limited clients on smaller budgets! Brilliant!

    September 25, 2016 at 11:49 pm