For Photographers: How to Win Friends and Influence People Week 4

Become Genuinely Interested in Other People 

You know when you go through one of those icebreaker exercises and everyone goes around the group and says something unique or memorable about them.  I used to get frustrated trying to answer that question on the spot. Well over the last few years, I nailed my answer. I am a hot tea lover. And let me tell you, do not take this lightly. I enjoy reading about teas, smelling teas, hearing the stories and  learning the myths. And one of the principles of tea drinking is this: Enjoy it sip by sip rather than gulp by gulp.

This is how we genuinely enjoy the people around us, fellow artists, and clients. We enjoy each other sip by sip. And what I mean by this is that, we slow down. We don’t try to crack someone up quick and have them spill their deepest parts of themselves. No, we sit down, relax, and spend hours with a person. It is in these hours of listening, asking questions, and just hanging out that we show genuine interest in others. This is the principle Dale Carnegie shares in this chapter.

So how can we enjoy people sip by sip?

1.     How do I feel when people put me first? I like starting off with reflective questions. It puts me in the other person’s shoes and see differently. When people put me first, I always notice in myself this excitement and freedom. Feeling that someone cares makes me want to open up and say more than, “I am good, how are you?”

2.     How can we intentionally place others before work? For me, I am seeing that its as simple as talking. Whether I am on assignment for an organization or out doing a senior portrait, talking and putting my camera down builds a relationship. When we put people in front of our cameras, we are asking them to trust us.  With that said, it is important to build trust, be patient, ask questions, listen, and get to know the parts of the person that makes them unique. This takes time and is convicting for my task-oriented self. This reminds me to slow down. Sip by sip. Enjoy the moment. Enjoy the person.

3.     How can we make sure our motives are pure? In the book, Carnegie shares the story of a man, who was a professional speaker. Every time before he stepped up to the stage, he spent a few minutes, reminding himself who it was all about—his audience. This was a refreshing method for me to hear. For me this looks like before I go out on a shoot, I either get up early or I spend my moments in the car getting focused and remembering what it is all about.

What about you? How do you plan on showing your clients or even just your family and friends how you care about them?


Guest Blogger, Aaron Vance on the First Steps to Pricing

Pricing.  The topic that new photographers are always asking about and the topic that seems to be the hardest to find information on.  In this article I am going to provide you with first step in pricing, determining your Cost of Doing Business or CODB.  I will also provide you with links to other articles and tool for setting up your pricing.  Before we get started to you need to accept three things:

There are no correct price you have to charge.

If you are meeting your financial goals with your business, then your pricing is correct for your business.

Your prices are not determined by what you would pay.

If you are able to something yourself, you usually are not willing to pay a lot for it.  For example, I can work on cars, so I really do not want to pay a mechanic to work on my car.

Your prices are not determined on what other photographers charge.

After reading this article this will be clearer, but my experience has been that most photographers have no idea what they need to charge to be profitable. 

Now that is out of the way, let talk about Cost of Doing Business. 

Whether you have been in business for a while or are just starting out, determining your CODB is a critical step.  To help you through this process I recommend that you download my COBD Calculator.  The best way to define CODB are expenses that are inquired for running a business, regardless if you have a photo session.  Some examples are website fees, rent, insurance, camera upkeep, etc.  Remember that you need to pay yourself, so include a salary!  Do not confuse CODB with expenses that are directly tied to a specific photo session. Some examples are printing, credit card fees, parking fees, etc.  So the first step is to write down all the expenses you inquire annually or monthly.  Be sure to write down every expense no matter how small.  If you are just starting out and do not have past year expenses, estimate.  The next step is to put all the expenses into the calculator.  At the bottom of the calculator in yellow you will see the monthly and annual expenses.  This is the minimum profit you need to make.  The last line of the calculator is a handy tool, it show how much profit per client is needed every month.  So enter the number of clients you hope to have per month.  Remember the more clients you have per month will drop the profit needed, but at the same time will means you will work more hours. 

Once you have determined your CODB, you now know what you need to make.   This is the first step in determining pricing.  Since pricing is a multi-step process, there is no way to cover all the steps in one article.  If you are looking for information on this topic I recommend that you visit my site Addah’s Advice.  There you will find articles and tools on a multitude of topics to include a 5 part series on pricing.  

COBD Calculator Link:

Addah’s Advice:

Aaron Vance name is the owner of Addah’s Advice along as well as the business manager for his wife’s photography business, Donna Gail Photography.  He is located in Waldorf, MD which is right outside of Washington DC.  He started Addah’s Advice so he can share the knowledge I have gained running Donna Gail Photography.  His goal is provide tools and knowledge to make business decisions, not a specific model that needs to be followed.   Every business is as unique as the person running it.  Be sure to check out his website and if you ever have specific questions feel free to contact me.

For Photographers: How to Win Friends and Influence People Week 3

I hope the past couple weeks has encouraged you and challenged you. I have been busy editing some shoots and mailing out the finished products and these past two chapters have really influenced my process. Now I keep jotting down ways to get to know my clients on a more personal basis. I have a couple new things I include in my packages, when I mail them their photographers too. This book has really got my thinking about ways to love on others, in small and large ways. This chapter was no different!

Week 3: Arouse in the other person an eager want

When Carnegie dove into this principle, there were several other factors that I realized influenced this principle and that is what I have created these questions based on.

  1. How do I find out what others want? My favorite quote from this chapter: "If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the others point of view and see things from their angle as well as from your own." This is such a simple question and such a simple answer. Yet it makes a huge difference. Asking questions, actively listening, and jotting down physical or mental notes is crucial. If I am prepping for a photojournalism assignment, this involves heavy research before I connect with a client. This includes checking out the website, asking around, viewing their photos and seeing how I can help better this area. If I am working on a portrait shoot, this includes asking questions in email correspondence, getting to know them at the consultation and not just going over contract details. 
  2. How can I help others get what they want? Listening and asking questions. One of Carnegie's main points in this chapter was the importance of focusing on them, not your own issues. I know sometimes if I am tired before a shoot or have had a long week, it's hard to do this. If I want to be serve them with my best, I need to find out what they want, and that requires my full attention. This means I take my focus off how can I make my business grow and I focus on how can I make their heart, passions, and vision grow. 
  3. How can I create an eager want in my clients? This requires a heart check-- an intentional reminder before every assignment or photoshoot that this my time to put myself aside and serve them. Sometimes this looks like taking a few minutes before the shoot to put the phone away, get alone, and regroup in a sense. Once the heart is set in place, the actions follow. Some other practical things to do would be showing my previous work to clients, sharing stories and letting them see my passion in order to create trust. Transparency breads transparency. 

If you would like to receive these discussion questions as well as other tips and shares for all storytellers in your inbox, click here for Your Focus Friday Exclusive.  

Comment below with your thoughts or questions! This is an open discussion to share your frustrations and inspiration. What have the questions above prompted you to do? 

Senior Portraits with Miss Krysta

My one word for this girl: vibrant. She's bold and I would not say she is without fear.  But she is with courage, and no matter what scary things comes her way, she faces them with full of hope, energy, and strength. Love knowing this girl and all her sass that comes with it. We had a blast out on our shoot and I am thrilled to say I have found my new favorite spot in the DFW area. Spent hours out there exploring before and after our shoot. I think it will be a future writing location for upcoming projects! 

For Photographers: Week 2 How to Win Friends and Influence People

Another great chapter to discuss for this week! I have decided to add something to these posts. It will help me process, as well as help all of you to see how I am processing to help you reflect on your photography businesses. With each of the questions I put forth, I am going to share some of my ramblings about how I am looking to be intentional with my relationships revolving around photography. When I am reading these chapters I am thinking not just about my clients, but other fellow photographers as well. So here we go, week 2!

Principle 2: Give honest and sincere appreciation

  1. Everyone desires to feel loved and appreciated. How can I make others (clients and others in my photography circle of influence) feel important/loved/appreciated? As I began to chew on this question, I started realizing throughout the chapter the value of listening. He does not directly address it, but I cannot help but think that in order to give sincere appreciation, we must listen and ask questions. Practically what this looks like for me is when I am emailing with clients, I will ask friendly, light-hearted questions to get to know them. I try my hardest to schedule a face to face consultation with each client before a shoot to not just brainstorm ideas, but get to know them as a person and develop trust and a comfortable atmosphere. Also I think giving sincere compliments and not just flattering them stems out of listening and asking questions. Something I want to do now is make a list of about 3-5 questions- some of them deep, some light-hearted to get to know the person I am with on a deeper level and serve them better. 
  2. How can I show others that I appreciate them? I've got two thoughts for this one. First, this is something I have realized I have to be very intentional about. I am an introverted, task-oriented person, so I sometimes get so focused on an assignment I forget about the people I am doing it for. Also, as I am typing this I realize I can use my introverted nature as a strength. I love one-on-one over group situations.  This is great because I can use this in my consultations with clients. Second, I have seen several photography friends do this and I am taking this chapter as a challenge to start it myself.  I like the idea of giving little gifts and a handwritten note when I deliver my products. Handwritten notes mean so much to me, so I feel like it would mean much to others. 
  3. Here is a reflective question: What is it that makes me feel important/loved/appreciated? When I think about this, it helps me learn how to appreciate others. Here is a bit of honesty for ya, a pet peeve of mine is when people compliment me by just saying I am "sweet". I hear that word so often, I now wonder what people mean by it. Sometimes, not always, it cam come off as an empty comment, a space-filler. All of this to say, I appreciate compliments that have thought put into them, that shows they have seen a part of the depths of who I am. I also feel loved when people ask me questions. Im not talking about the "how are you?" that you blurt out real quick while passing in the hallway, I am talking about the lets-talk-for-a-few-minutes-how-are-you-really-doing, full eye contact and everything. 

So there are my thoughts! Can't wait to hear what all of you think. Again, I encourage you if you would like to dive further into these principles from the book, go buy it! It is a great read and I have had several photography friends and mentors recommend this to me. You don't need the book to partake in this discussion, but it would certainly enhance it.

Please comment below and let me know what you think about these questions and this principle. I would love to hear your thoughts!

Stay tuned for next Friday's discussion!

For Photographers: How to Win Friends and Influence People Discussion

For the next few months, every Friday I will be posting discussion and application questions for photographers based on my reading through Dale Carnegie’s, How to Win Friends and Influence People.

I have noticed through several photography circles now, that we are finally getting something right: it’s about the people not the pictures. This idea is the foundation of the book. Each week I will address some of the main principles and provide a few reflective questions for us to discuss and brainstorm about how this will influence our work as photographers. So excited to start this journey with all of you and can’t wait to see how this book will transform our perspectives!

Carnegie begins the book with this first principle: Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.

 Are you ever out on an assignment, shooting a wedding or scheduling a session and their requests just bug you? Carnegie suggests this wonderful and extraordinary idea on how to respond to situations like this.

 “Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to fight out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance, and kindness.”

 So with this in mind here are a few questions for us to consider as photographers:

 1.     First, let’s take a look inside ourselves. How do I respond when people criticize me? How does it make me feel?

2.     Step back. What would I do if I were in their shoes?

3.     How can I better improve myself, rather than focusing on trying to improve my clients or fellow photography friends?

4.     Next time someone irritates me, how can I try to understand them better? This is an opportunity to get to know others better. Think of some specific goals you want to put in place. Example, next time a client says something that rubs you the wrong way, put yourself in their shoes, take a few minutes to process before responding, ask a friend for a fresh perspective, etc.

 Share your thoughts below! Would love to brainstorm and discuss this with all of you. Also if you would like to purchase the book yourself to follow up, you may do so here. 

DTS Creativity Cafe

This was my first art exhibit to ever be a part of. It was an honor and a humbling experience. Nothing can quite describe getting to not only have your work displayed in an exhibit but getting to watch people interact with your pieces and share your stories with them. Such an inspirational night getting to know other artists and listen to their artistic journeys. Listed below are the pieces on display.

"Mugumu Men". Mugumu, Tanzania, 2012. 

"Serengeti Sunrise". Mugumu, Tanzania, 2012. 

"Serengeti Hunt". Mugumu, Tanzania, 2012. 

"End of a Day's Work". Lilongwe, Malawi, 2012.