My 6 fave apps and websites I cant live without

These are my absolute fave apps and websites that I use on the daily, that I absolutely cant live without. I mean, literally, my life revolves around these babies. If given the choice between these apps and my husband…. well, let’s just say it would be a close call.

  1. Canva

The magic solution you’ve been looking for, to handle all your marketing design needs. Like seriously, this website is everything! You can create personalised instagram posts, buttons for your website, slideshow headers, flyers, online brochures - this website has templates you can adjust for anything.

2. Typeform

Building your online tribe is all about generating engagement, and getting people who love you to interact with you. Typeform’s online quiz’s are amazing for this.

3. Tave

Studio management software

4. Later

Scheduling posts

5. Seldex

We order the majority of our printed products through Seldex, and because I’m a huge believer in printing photos, I feel like we’re on their site every day. With a great selection of fonts, book fabric options and super easy ordering interface, they are a huge part of us being able to achieve “time profitability” and the freedom to live our best photography life.

6. Candy Crush

OK, so this is my guilty pleasure…. waiting in a queue or needing to tune out for a minute.

6 Things You Need to 'Unlearn' About Wedding and Portrait Photography

To be honest, I’ve heard myself using some of these excuses. But if you want to make money so you can get out there and have fun shooting, you need to “unlearn” these 6 so called “facts” about wedding and portrait photography.

Unlearnt Item 1 - You need to sell portrait sessions for $10,000 each to be profitable

Woah! Definitely not true. And in fact, if you burn your clients with prices that are too high, you are going to kill your repeat business. The key to profitability is working smarter, so that you’re making as much money as possible, but in the least time frame as possible. Review each of your products and look at how much time they take to produce, not just what they cost. And focus on selling pieces that are “time profitable” that can be turned over quickly.

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Unlearnt Item 2 - You Need to Win Awards to be Successful

Well, we are living proof that this is not true. In fact, up until 2018, we hadn’t entered or won an award in over 10 years. Awards are nice because they drive your passion and creativity. But they are not an essential part of a profitable business. Selecting a photographer is an emotional decision. Focus on creating an emotional connection with your potential customers, rather than shoving awards in their face.

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Unlearnt Item 3 - You Need to have thousands of followers to be profitable

Check out my 5 C’s to getting Clients. Social Media is only 1 small part. What you do need to have is exceptional customer service skills and a strong method for delivery. Then you will create genuine raving fans who spread the word for you both on and off line.

Don’t get me wrong, social media is still incredibly important. But if your photography goal is the financial freedom to live your best life, focus on creating a niche tribe who love what you do and serve them well. This is what will turn into paying jobs.

Unlearnt Item 4 - You should target your wedding photography marketing to engaged couples.

Woah! Biggest NO of all. If your target just those you are already engaged, I’m sorry to say you’re already too late.

Wedding photography is all about emotion and fulfilling a client’s lifelong dream, which as the word suggests, is something they’ve been dream about all their life. A bride doesn’t get engaged and then start thinking about their wedding photography. Chances are her friends are also engaged, they’ve been looking at wedding and fashion photography for years, and have been getting inspiration for their big day on social media for years.

This is where building your online followers is important. You’re aim should be to build a tribe of followers who are emotionally invested in you, and connected with what you do, so that when their time comes, they automatically contact you. Not only are you top of their list, the emotional investment comes into play and they’ll be willing to pay a bit more for you, than for the person who is further down their list. This is your ideal, drema client. Some one who has been watching you for years, loving you, and looking forward to day it’s their turn to book you!

Expos and advertising still have a place in your marketing mix, in terms of a “Call to Action” moment, but their importance has been significantly decreased in recent years.

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Unlearnt Item No. 5 - Size Matters

As a non-photographer, tbh, I tune out during the whole jpg v raw debate. Yawn…. And that’s how your clients feel about it too.

Yes you want to look professional and you must deliver a quality product. But you don’t need to bang on about it to your client.

Their aim is to have memories that last a lifetime. Whether it’s the smile on their 6 month old sons face, or the first moment when her Dad sees her in her bridal gown. Or it’s a Wow shot that encompasses the beauty and lifelong dream that her wedding day is. That’s what matters to your client.

Not the number of megapixels that your camera captures. (Of course you need to be able to answer this question, but it wont be the reason why they book you)

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Unlearnt Item 6 - My Clients Only Want “Shoot n Burn”

Presenting your photos beautifully is the easiest and funnest way that you can make the money you need to live the life you want. Have you ever thought about the creativity and effort that you’ve put into creating a beautiful moment, only for it to be supplied as an online link to the client, never to be seen or heard of again - or at best, has a lifespan of 24 hours in the client’s instagram feed.

The personal reward I see our photographers get when their work is properly presented, is immense. Not only does it drive sales, it drives your passion. And once the ball starts rolling, it picks up speed! You need to have printed products to be able to sell printed products. I always have multiple acrylic blocks, double volume albums, frames and portrait books surrounding my clients when they’re in our studio. So that they know it’s normal to purchase printed products.

Your client cant imagine how they’re finished product will look. You must have printed samples right there for them to touch and feel, and then show them how they’re photos would look using programs such as Fundy and Proselect. Companies such as Seldex offer great discounts for Studio Samples.

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Feeling inspired and want to get straight into the fun stuff? Download the Studio Form Templates I use for my own studio, pop in your own pretty photos - and boom, you’re off and running! Check them out here.

5 C's To Booking More Clients

In the old days (when you could buy film in a supermarket, and brides had magazines instead of pinterest boards) the marketing approach for wedding photography was to market to newly engaged couples. So off we’d trot to to the next wedding expo, pop up our stand featuring brides carrying gerbras (not kidding) and in would file a sea of newly engaged couples, ready to book our services.

Today, if you start marketing to brides once they’re engaged - I’m sorry but you’re too late. She’s already picked her dream photographer. Yes, maybe she cant afford him, so your relegated to competing on price with all the low end guys trying to under cut with the best price.

If you want to charge a premium price and be paid what your worth, you need to be seen as premium brand - and you need to make your brides fall in love with you.

So the strategy to win over today’s sophisticated bride? Make her lust for you, then make her fall in love with you, with my 5 C’s.

  1. Collaborations

With other suppliers, both on and off line. Hair dressers, make up artists, stylists, dress designers. Make sure these collaborations are win/win for all parties and head towards a long term relationship. The aim with collaborations is to pool your skills, assets and expenses so that you can create something that is virally sensational!

One single expo where you can physically meet with a couple of hundred brides (on a good day) can cost in the range of 1,000’s of dollars. With a team of suppliers working together you can all put some money towards a professional model or unique location. Plus you are not constrained by a client brief, so you can really hit crazy levels of creativity.

Potential clients love the authentic passion of collaborations In 2017, we took a team of photographers, videographers, models and stylists on a shoot for the Opening Night of Vivid. Yes we got incredibly colourful shots, but what surprised me was that our conversion rate for wedding interviews went up to 100%! Our clients loved hearing that we’re so passionate about shooting, that we just went and created our own shoot for fun. Who wouldn’t want to book a photographer who is that passionate.

Everyone is searching for content. While collaborations are time heavy, they’re relatively inexpensive. You MUST spend money on getting a Behind the Scenes video, it’s almost more important than the shots themselves. (Thanks Soda Films for the awesome video of our Vivid Shoot)


2. Content Creation

This next point changed my life. Rather than marketing what you do “at” your future brides, try to think of ways you can serve them, and help them, when you’re creating content.

Blog Articles about Top Venues, Ring Styles and our Favourite Designers rate super high for us, because these topics are of interest to couples and future brides. It’s useful, and of course while they’re doing their research they’re seeing our photos and starting to lust after our style.

In Real Life Wedding Articles, show photos that brides an you as inspiration for planning their own day, rather than only your favourite landscapes. Again providing them with content that serves them in planning a wedding, rather than just showing them what you want them to see.

3. Client Referrals

The easy way is through referrals on sites such as Google, Easy Weddings and ABIA. Oue studio is managed using a Management System called Tave (My love for Tave is reaching levels of obsession!) which allows an automatic email to be generated once a client has been into the studio to view their wedding photos. This email asks the couple to please give us a review, and provides the links and access points they need to complete this task. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for them to leave us a positive review.

We then personally ask every client to please remember to pass on our details to any friends or family they may know who are getting married. It’s amazing how many times we hear the response “Oh yes, I do know a girl at work getting married, I’ll pass on your brochure”. Many couples wont naturally think to do it, but will definitely try to if you directly ask. If they love their photos they’re going to want to help you!

And of course, there’s good old Facebook. While the organic reach of Facebook is pretty small these days, it’s still effective for communicating milestones to people you havent seen in ages. Many times I’ve been told a client heard about us through a friend, then when asked how they are, the response is “Oh, I havent seen them since high school, I just saw their wedding photos and loved them.” For this reason we still watermark our facebook photos, but not instagram.

Client Referrals are super strong when they come from a trusted and respected source. So also dont forget a fantastic source of referrals is other wedding industry suppliers. We work closely with a number of the venues around the Sydney, because brides respect the opinion of their Venue Manager and are often keen to book a photographer who knows the venue. We actively invest money in building the relationships with key venues, as we can directly see how strong the leads are when they come from a venue.


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4. Call To Action

So this is where the Lust needs to turn to Love. We need to give them a reason to switch from being just a double tapper, to someone who actually picks up the phone and books an appointment.

Hopefully by the time they’re booking their venue or deciding upon a dress, they have already heard of us, or seen on of our pictures. Possibly we’re one of about 5 or 6 wedding photographers they’ve seen over the last few years, so now our aim is to springboard to the top of the pack!

Our main way of doing this is by being a preferred supplier for venues that match the type of client we want to serve. If they’ve heard of us, then recognise our name on their Venues recommended list, chances are we’ll get a call.

We distribute discount vouchers to key players in the wedding industry that they can pass onto their clients, as well as offer a discount voucher on the wedding enquiry form.

5. Customer Service

All of the previous points mean nothing, if you dont follow up with phone calls and reply to emails, in a timely manner.

Have you ever been researching a product online, maybe a furniture item or a car, and given up because you couldn’t find what you needed. Or did find a price but then decided not to pursue it further, because you felt it was too expensive. To address both of these issues, we dont have any pricing listed directly on line. Instead we ask out couples to fill in an equiry form, and then an automatic package is instantly sent to them, containing all the pricing. What this then allows us to do is also

Our Studio Policy is to return every single client enquiry within a personal phone call within 24 hours - and people are shocked when we call! I mean shocked in a good way! They cant believe we’ve actually called them to see if there is a way we can serve them better. Dont just give prices. In fact, try to avoid giving prices straight away. Show that you’re actually interested in their day, ask about the time of their ceremony, which venue they have chosen and

TIP: DONT make the Phone Number line mandatory.

When we forced people to give us their phone number, our enquiry rate dropped dramatically. However once we made it optional, people were more comfortable giving us their details, and most people still gave us their number anyway.

Before I finish..

There’s one new area that I’m trialling, and so far it’s been super successful. It’s about putting a face to your brand. Put yourself in your clients shoes and trying scrolling through other photographers instagram accounts. They’re probably fairly similar, feature pretty images and are lacking in character. My challenge for myself at the moment is to show up more in our feed, and give our brand the character and emotion that our couples feels when they walk through the door and meet us.

So I’ll keep working on this challenge and let you know how it’s coming along in a future post.

Hmmm… Maybe that should be another sixth C - Challenge yourself and adapt as times change in the future. Yeah, I like that!



Max your hustle! Be Rewarded More For Each Job

Here’s the honest truth. I don’t want to be a factory that shoots 500 weddings a year and manufacturers the same product for every client. We want to be a team of passionate creatives who spend time and effort creating unique photography creations for every individual client.

To have this luxury, there’s only so many hours in the day, and only 52 weekends in a year. So I need to charge a premium. This is how I do that - and more importantly, make sure my client loves us and refers us to their friends!

You built our website, scheduled your instagram posts and paid for the Facebook ads. You took the time to answer their online enquiry, sent out your package info, talked to them on the phone and finally met them in person to book their wedding. That’s a lot of hustle!

So let’s look at ways you can maximise your return on all of the hard work you’ve already done.

And yes, I know, I don’t like hard selling either - I promise these are concepts I use with my own couples, and they still voted for us as the Best Wedding Photographer in 2018. So they must still love us!

My ideas below are all aimed at Wedding clients you have already booked in, and aim ato generate more sales for little or no additional work. It’s are all about offering options that they’re going to want to buy, no pushing required!

  1. People buy what they can see

    If you want to sell large albums with lots of sides, then you need to show studio samples of large albums with lots of sides. They cant imagine how amazing it looks if you dont have a sample there to show.

  2. Let couple’s know what is “normal”

    No one wants to think they’re over spending. Most people are comfortable in either the middle ground, or using the “second cheapest bottle of wine” theory. Show couples what your most popular upgrade is and assure them that it’s what everyone does.

  3. Sell Albums - Offer so much value they’r crazy not to print one.

    I know, I can hear you from here, “my couples don’t want albums, I can get album upsales”. At least give them the option. With all of your existing already booked clients, let them know that

  4. Sell photoshop not prints

    Anyone can rock up to Officeworks and print a photo. But they cant do photoshop retouching to the level that you can.

  5. Describe photos and explain what photos mean to them

    My favourite phrase in the world is “Which Means”. Every time you go to talk about a photo add the phrase “Which means” on the end.

    “This is a photo of your group shot - which means you have a record of every person who shared your day with you.”

    “This is a photo of you at the start of the day (describe) you can see the light is coming in behind your head giving you a soft glow (which means) which means your photo has a soft and romantic look which is different to the other photos.

6. Create products they cant make themselves

Acrylic blocks, etched metal prints and custom designed books with extras like embossing and fly sheets, agree all difficult or time consuming for couples to be able to create themselves. So they will be more likely to order these through you.

7. Sell the pre-wedding files separately

Every body wants the best price. Do you offer a free pre-wedding shoot, and then have people ask for a discount for removing it? I hear you! Us to! But the beauty of offering the shoot for free, is that you can say this is your best priced package, you’re helping couples out by creating the lowest cost option you can. From there, if they would like to add on more options, they are welcome to do so.

8. Offer a Discount to include additional items to their package before the wedding

Note: I DID NOT say Charge More After. I am very up front with my couples, and I say “I want you to have a great experience and refer me to your friends, therefore I want you to have no surprises. For this reason, we offer a discounted rate to include additional options up front, so that you have a reason to think about it. Rather than trying to believe you wont want it, and then pretening we didnt tell you. If you dont use it, we will refund it.

9. Schedule meetings as soon after the wedding as possible.

Dean and I constantly fight on this one, he says “Cant you just make them come in during business hours?” To get the maximum sale, you need to have both decision makers in the room. And you need them to still be super excited about the wedding, before you are competing with “Taps and Tiles” otherwise known as their home renovation. By fulfilling their order asap after their wedding, not only do you look good, you also get their data off your server faster (massive storage issues!) and you’ll get the biggest upsale from the continued excitement. We schedule the proof viewing during the final pre-wedding meeting.

10. Recap package inclusions prewedding, and educate on options to purchase after wedding

NO SURPRISES! That’s our motto. We’ve worked too damn hard to lose all of those referrals, just because we didnt take the time to explain our prices up front.

My goal is to teach photographers and their partners how to have a better quality of life by being more profitable and passionate. It’s not about increasing your volume. It’s about finding your own awesome, and being rewarded fairly for it.