This week's featured photographer is Jillian Todd of Jillian Todd Portraits for Women in the Sacramento Valley California
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Yes, my ideal client is going through a transition, values luxury and is over 27 years old. I attract a LOT of medical professionals and they are some of my favorite to work with. They don't get to dress up or get glam very often and scrubs aren't particularly sexy.
I separated booking and image fees to make it simple. The session is $295 and includes a design consultation, pro hair and makeup services, the shoot, any use of my wardrobe if they need it, full editing, their ordering session and album design. Image collections and albums start at $500 and go up to a full collection of $2700. My average is $1800 in my new location; I'm quickly gaining ground on my old location average of $2200.
After their session, I do full edits and have them come back for an in person ordering session. Clients come into my office and see a slideshow on a big screen TV first, then row by row in Lightroom. We narrow down their faves and maybes first, then talk about what products they want exactly. Based on their preference for album, we may narrow down from there or go right to processing the order.
As far as sales "techniques", I let them lead the discussion and I shut up when they are figuring out how to pay or mentally processing what it costs. This one technique has gained me thousands over the years.
The challenges were the huge windows and the wide open floorplan. For the windows, I had to figure out a way to cover them for privacy without compromising the light. I made huge window covers with softbox materials and velcroed them to the frames. Next I had to figure out a way to separate the space without building walls. Solved the problem by getting transform rods and super-strength magnets with different curtains. I can control light *and* background well with my MacGuyvered system and it is relatively inexpensive.
The challenge was that my family was vehemently against me being in a "trade". I had retail and clerical jobs, pursued esthetics because it was my second love and did that for many years. I had sales jobs and dabbled in real estate. All that time I was shooting shooting, shooting, and dying inside at my day job. My last corporate job almost killed me and that's when I said *enough* and stopped working any other job.
I started to explore the possibility of just photographing women back in 2005, but couldn't see how that would work. I took a workshop at Brooks with Joyce Wilson and the seed started to grow. In 2010 I was mentored by Sue Bryce and all my doubts disappeared. Convincing hubby that such a narrow niche was possible was a bigger struggle. Poor guy, I told him I'd leave him if he kept raining on my photography parade. I finally left corporate after a work accident (my sign from the Universe) in August 2010.
With photography, I'm doing the same thing I did with esthetics: *healing* but with different tools.
If I find myself getting bored or burnt out, I'll have a friend or previous client come in and do a lot of experimental shooting.
I also find a lot of cup-filling going to the movies, usually by myself. I love the visual artistry, the costuming, everything: it revs me up creatively.
Business: The Answer by John Assaraf. I go back to it constantly.
Soul: Desire Map, this has transformed my "goal setting".
Listen to what you love. Don't sacrifice your dreams for someone else's limited view.
An example: my kids had a swim teacher who was going to college and studying what her parents wanted her to. She was engaged to a guy who was very limiting. She was terrified to tell them she just wanted to chuck it and go to beauty school, and break up with the guy. I kept telling her to listen to her dreams, that I had spent way too much time living that way and not to follow in my footsteps.
Finally she told her parents what she wanted, ditched the fiancé and now she is a passionate, amazing, skilled stylist who is in incredible demand so recently out of school. She is also crushing it in fitness competitions; reading her posts telling others to go after their dreams is very satisfying. She's passing it on and an inspiration to so many.