The following is a guest post by Brittany Hansen of Brushfire Photography located in San Tan Valley, AZ.
Lisa Lefkowitz got started by doing low end weddings at a high volume. She didn’t like how things were going so she decided on what she wanted to be doing and starting taking steps to get there.
She loves taking photos of details and this makes her work very attractive to magazines and online publications. This also allows her to do a lot of storytelling through details. Her photos are brights and airy with a lot of off-camera gaze. They are styled, directed and with a definite vision. It is important to find an authentic vision because this will compel the right clients.
It is often argued whether film or digital photography is more expensive. Lisa has done the math and has found that it is basically a wash. Film has a lot of up front cost, but digital rapidly changes and the cost of time editing is higher.
Lisa has a list of words that represent her work and that she uses in her marketing and advertising. These words are: fine art, artisan, hand-made, and heirloom.
-Minolta light meter
-Canon EOS 3 & 5D Mark II
-Contax 645 80mm f/2
She exposes her color negatives at 1/2 ASA and has her film scanned by Richard Photo Lab. Files are then imported into lightroom where she or her assistant make the final edits. She showed up this crazy graph of all the steps and milestones she completed to get to where she is today. This was really helpful and generous of her to list all these things that she has done. Here are some of the steps:
-Joined a photographer referral group
-Moved into a nice studio in nice neighborhood
-1st Wedding published
-1st wedding in Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine
-Hired a designer to make all her branding cohesive
-Found planners and work through wedding planners
-Started a blog
-Featured on the cover of PDN (Wedding Magazine)
-Featured in an Ad for Fuji
-Featured in an Editorial Wedding for Brides Magazine
-Trying to be everything to everyone. You need to find what work you like doing and stay true to yourself. If you jump all over doing everything your work will suffer and clients will be confused about what they would get from you.
-Too many products or packages. By simplifying your packages and products clients are less overwhelmed and so are you.
-Not charging enough. You are worth it and you need to set your prices to make money.
-Not outsourcing. By outsourcing the things you are not great at, you have more time to focus on your strengths.
When your work is published you have a major vehicle of self-promotion. Plus, when you have been published you are more attractive to clients and planners. When your work is published the vendors work you have photographed is also getting exposure, therefore the vendors are very happy with you as well, and are likely to refer you. They will also spread the word about the feature and be giving you more press in the process.
Once published create a promo card about the publication and send it to vendors & planners. Her promo cards are folded with one photo on front and 6 inside, and says “as featured in Use a team approach by linking to vendors on websites and blogs, and giving credit where credit is deserved.
Who are you shooting for? Me, planner, vendors, editors, clients. Make sure you get photos for all those people. By doing this you will be making every wedding a possible publication. Make a timeline of what you need to do and when. Educate clients on what you will be doing and get a list of group photos they expect, this way your plan is more concise and they know what to expect. Before you start shooting look around and get a feel for everything. Try to get portraits done at sunset if possible, it is the most romantic and sought after.
She directs and composes photos, but also creates natural poses. It is important to capture real-to-life moments.
Lisa’s talk was really informative and useful. I mainly took away the importance of being published and creating relationships with vendors and planners. This has made a huge impact in how I work now. I now try to get a hold of the vendors and give them photos of their work. In this short time after WPPI I have already created relationships with vendors that has helped my business.
More of her work can be seen here