How long does it take to edit one photo?
It depends on the photo. If it is a regular portrait or horse show image that doesn't need extensive retouching it take about 3-5 minutes per photo. A photo that need more retouching or objects removed from background can take up to 30 minutes. Black background photos take an average of 15-30 minutes as well depending on amount of retouching needed.
How do you charge for travel?
Anything outside a 30 mile radius of Des Moines requires travel. If the session is somewhere that I can drive to and from without needing an overnight stay, mileage is charged at $0.50/mile round trip. When a trip requires hotel stays and/or airfare I book all of my own travel accommodations and then bill the client(s) for the expenses. If I end up booking multiple clients in the one trip, the travel expense is divided up between them. Everything I book is refundable in case of weather rescheduling.
What editing software do you use and do you use presets or filters?
I use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Most of my portrait editing is done in Lightroom but will pull it into Photoshop for any detailed retouching that may need done. I do use presets but they are ones that I have created on my own. For all of my horse show orders, all of the editing is done in Photoshop and I don't use any presets or filters to edit those.
How do you handle horses that don't want to cooperate?
Depends on what you consider not cooperating. I always instruct my clients to have their horses exercised before the session if possible to help relax/tire them a bit and to take their horses to the locations that they are interested in using before the day of they session so they get familiar with the area. Horses are like children, their attention spans aren't always the longest so keep things moving along and don't over stimulate them. If I see that the horse is getting anxious and my client is getting frustrated with them, I will have them move to a new location. Horses are also normally very food obsessed so grass is very tempting to them so you may need to take a break and go to a driveway, arena, or barn aisle. Although it may be frustrating, do not let your frustrations out - keep the atmosphere light and happy.
What settings is your camera on?
My camera is in manual and I shoot in RAW. My focus is set to AI-Servo and I typically use the single point expansion when selecting my focal point. As far as my white balance, shutter speed, aperture, and ISO - those all will change depending on the subject, type of shot I am going for, and available light.
As you start to raise your prices, how do you handle previous clients wanting discounts and loosing business because of your new higher prices?
I recently increased my prices for the first time in two years. It came with a much needed overhaul of my business but was needed because the overall cost of doing business increased. The last few months I have had a few inquiries from previous clients that were disappointed to learn of the increased session fees and know that I have lost some of their business. I will offer returning clients small discounts for their loyalty but some can't budge their budget for your service. Try not to take it personally - know that they still would probably love to work with you if they could afford it.
I have noticed you stopped watermarking the images you put on social media - what is the reason for that?
To be 100% honest, I got tired of doing it and felt like it was distracting on my photos. I have seen the debate to watermark or not in a few photography groups online and some will argue that you should watermark everything you put online so that you get credit and your clients friends will know who took it. I can understand that however, I don't want to force my clients to advertise for me. I want my clients to love their images so much that they are tagging me in their posts because they want everyone to know who did their photos. Also, my packages are all-inclusive, meaning they get the hi-res digital release of their images so watermarking them just to share on my social media is really just an unnecessary step.
How did you get your name out there and start getting clients?
The horse industry is "a who you know and who knows you" type of market. I grew up showing horses and being very involved in the community so when I started my photography business, a lot of people that I was photographing in the beginning were people that I knew just giving me a shot. I then started photographing at a local saddle club that I showed at and my name spread organically. I still feel like my biggest reach is through word of mouth. Having people organically say good things about you is better than any advertisement you can run on social media.