A week and a half ago, CreativeLive’s guest instructor was Australian glamour photographer Sue Bryce. Sue is a self-described hack who uses only available light, doesn’t use a light meter, and “chimps” to get the image right. Yet she’s a “hack” so inspiring and successful in her business, that in one day her CreativeLive sales blew away CL’s all-time sales records. She was simply awesome.
Here’s a woman with no high school diploma or business school education that was able to grow a photography business to the point of earning $20,000 a week. She speaks around the world now (e.g. Atlanta, Las Vegas, Seattle, etc.). She’s one of the most eloquent speakers I’ve seen on the program. Truly amazing how well versed she is in her business and how laser focused she is. If she’s a “hack,” then I want to be a hack too.
Sue specializes in making ordinary looking women look extraordinary. Part of her website features a “Before and After” section to show the incredible transformation. Her work is so compelling, a growing part of her business are OTHER photographers whom she meets at her various speaking engagements who all want to be photographed by her. (As a side note, it’s obvious Sue’s photography makes her subjects look sexy. I really appreciated how she gave specific instruction on how she would change-up her posing for a teen girl so as not to sexualize her. Way to go Sue!)
One of the things Sue talked about I alluded to last Thursday. She is surprised at how many photographers have blogs that seemed to be aimed at other photographers.
Why are you marketing to other photographers and not your clients!
Why are you making promo videos that say, “Ooooh, look how cool I am” instead of videos that connect with your client. (I would also like to point out that Sue totally gets the value of importance of video. So much so, she invested $7,000AUS in the one below and is going to make three more, one for each demographic she’s specifically marketing to).
Here are some other great learning points:
- Go for a monthly job goal instead of a monthly income goal. For example, she doesn’t make her goal $20,000 a month. Her goal is 48 shoots a month. If she hits that, she knows she’ll get her income goal. To hit 48 shoots a month, she knows she needs to reach 480 people a month, which breaks down to 120/week.
- Know the demographic you’re selling too. She’s identified about four women demographics she’s going after.
- Know your brand and communicate it everywhere you go.
- There are opportunities everywhere. Look for them. Find them. Take advantage of them.
- She uses the warp tool in Photoshop vs. the Liquify tool because it’s faster.
- Invest in a video, it will be one of the best investments you ever make (I really can’t argue with that. 😉
- She gladly pays for exposure to local dress and make-up stores if it means getting her work in front of hundreds if not thousands of prospects.
Effective Promo Videos
As I mentioned before, Sue believes in the power of video and has invested in it. And she’s done it right. Below are two great examples (each made by a different company because she wanted to choose studios whose style matched the message she wanted to convey.)
In this promo, there is no audio of Sue talking or working with the client. The only audio is music. As a guy who makes these kinds of videos for a living (and I’ve made quite a few photographer videos), I usually don’t like these kind. You know, the kind where all you do is see the photographer shooting her clients with some cool music track. It just feels like a music video to me. But I loved this video. The reason why is because this video is not about Sue. It’s about the client. It’s all visuals depicting the hectic day of a real woman, and how she was made to look and feel beautiful because of Sue. The woman featured here is Sue’s regular make-up artist. I should also point out that this video made two of the CreativeLive attendees cry…including the guy! Can you figure out why?
This is the video I referenced above (the one in which she invested $7,0000AUS). This one is more in line with the kind I prefer, hearing the photographer talk about how she works while we see her working.