When did you start your photography business and what inspired you to start?
I officially got my business license in October 2015. Every now and then I would do a photo shoot for fun on shoot and burn basis, but wanted to go legit after we moved to the US due to an assignment from my husband in summer 2014.
You specialize in photographing women and do such an amazing job. How did you decide on that niche?
Thanks for these kind words *blush*! Before I rebranded in that specific genre of "Portraiture for Women" I photographed pretty much everything. I was trying to shoot a little of everything to what I loved.
It occurred to me while photographing families that MOM would be the one telling me "I don't need to be in the pictures, just take pictures of my kids." I loved photographing mom and always tried to get a beautiful shot of her that she loved. During this time, I was introduced to the renowned Portrait Photographer Sue Bryce and her educational program and where my journey started in January 2016.
How do you find your clients? Local advertisements, social media, word of mouth or a little bit of everything?
In the beginning my clients found me by word of mouth and referral. Some of them contacted me after they saw a beautiful portrait of their friend/coworker/neighbor and wanted to have a gorgeous portrait of themselves, too. Since I am moving back to Germany soon, I didn't do local advertisement, but I would highly recommend networking in getting your name out there. Building relationships is much more valuable for start ups than putting money into local advertisement in my opinion.
How do you help women relax and enjoy being in front of the camera?
This is an interesting question. I think the comfort they feel comes from the relationship that we have built throughout the entire experience. I connect with my clients for their style consultation either on the phone or in person before the session itself to talk about how they want to be photographed and I listen to their needs. I try to find out what they like about themselves and what they don't like about themselves. Let's be honest, as women we tend to pick ourselves apart and focus on what we don't like about ourselves. I make the session itself a unique experience by providing a girls day out to celebrate HER.
I truly believe, that it is my job as the photographer to make my client feel comfortable in front of the camera. Guiding her through the entire session helps them relax because they try to follow my instructions and watch me mirroring what I want them to do. This builds trust and they relax pretty quickly.
What is the sweetest session to date?
Every woman is unique and for me it is the greatest pleasure to show her the light that shines within her and capture that light. We are so critical of ourselves we often might not see how beautiful we really are.
I love the mother daughter sessions because there is such a strong bond between them and sharing this amazing experience and having beautiful portraits together to cherish and to exist in photographs is sure priceless to capture.
Did you set any goals over the past year and exceed your own expectations?
Yes. I rebranded in January 2016 into this genre and had the goal to build a sustainable business while helping women to exist in photographs they are proud of. I was building up my home studio from scratch out of the corner of our dining room and had the intention to photograph at least six sessions per month by end of the year and to be able to make a living out of this business. I created a vision board where I had things pinned like a beautiful studio, an upgrade to full frame and lenses, and in-home-printing instead of relying on the turn around times of the labs.
By October of 2016 I moved into a shared studio space with two other photographers and had built a sustainable business. That allowed me to upgrade to full frame and invest in my dream lenses and also switch to in house printing for my clients... now to set new goals for 2017.
What tips do you have for selling to your clients?
Don't sell the product, sell the service and the experience you provide. It's that simple.
I'm assuming these are all in person sales. Can you give any advice to aspiring photographers in this niche?
Just do it. Don't be afraid to switch to In-Person Sales (IPS) and to price your products and service accordingly. It is sure scary in the beginning, but once you dare to let yourself go into this experience you will never look back. What could there be better as a photographer and creator of priceless memories than to share the excitement with your client that you bonded with? It is a joy to help them create beautiful and tangible products they will cherish forever and pass down for generations.
What keeps you motivated and driven?
I am very passionate about helping women to see their beauty. I was always told by people that I could capture beautiful things they wouldn't have noticed otherwise. Now I get to find the beauty in women, many of whom don't see themselves as beautiful. My mission is to help women to exist in photographs. I want to photograph every single woman that has ever felt as though they are not beautiful or photogenic and show them that they are both those things. We can make real women feel like they stepped right out of a magazine and THAT ignites my spark every single time. I love watching them fall in love with themselves once they see how I and everyone else around them sees them.
Where do you see your business in two years?
Well, I see my business in Germany for obvious reasons. I also see myself in my dream studio and at the same time also traveling for destination dream shoots all over this beautiful world offering women around the world a unique and glamorous experience to exist in photographs and create beautiful memories for a lifetime.
Any last words of encouragement?
Write down your goals and walk towards them every single day and believe in yourself. I don't believe in competition because we are all unique and everyone has a different style and service to offer. Own YOUR space and believe in yourself and find a way to make your goals happen one step at a time.