In 2010, I went to a photography convention in Las Vegas. I was walking through the lobby of Caesar’s Palace with some friends when one of them stopped in a big crowd of people to say hello to some friends of hers. She looked at me and said, “Jeff Jochum is over there. You need to meet him.” I had heard of Jeff, as most people in the photography industry have, and I was thrilled to be meeting him.
He gave me a big smile while shaking my hand and we talked for less than 30 seconds. But in those 30 seconds, what he said intrigued me. He was genuine, asking tough questions about my business, and I wanted to talk to him more.
I went to his Biz Clarity workshop months later and got my first taste about the importance of specializing. At that time, I was shooting everything. I shot maternity, newborns, kids, families, seniors, engagement, weddings, and everything in-between. After his workshop, I narrowed my shooting down to mostly weddings, and I started marketing ME, not just my ability to take pictures. The results were great and I knew I was on the right track.
So, I started one-on-one coaching with Jeff and it rocked my world. I knew I needed to focus, but thought I was already specialized since I only shot a couple different disciplines. I was so very wrong. With Jeff, I found out why I am YOUnique… why people like me… what made me truly different. After a few months of working with him, I found out what I have always known… that I am the “troublemaker photographer for adventurous people.” As soon as I began declaring it, clients who were just like me started showing up for my business.
So, I began to charge a premium because I could now market my YOUniqueness. People started really connecting with me, because I was perfect for them, and they were perfect for me. I went from charging $2,000 for weddings, to an average of $5800 for weddings, in just a few months.
Even with all that guidance, I had a hard time making choices and was still shooting, and marketing, both weddings and seniors. This changed once I attended Fight Club last year. In that 3-days of intense work, I knew I had to choose. I ended up going with high school senior girls, and I am so happy with my decision. I still shoot a few weddings a year, though only for my totally perfect clients, but all my marketing and time goes into booking senior girls that are perfect for me.
I am now the “Troublemaker Photographer for Mischievous and Adventurous Senior Girls.”
Like weddings, this clear specialization enables me to charge a premium for these senior portraits because the experience with me is so different. We bond over getting into a little trouble, acting crazy, and going on fun adventures during their photo shoots. It’s an incredible journey I’ve been on with Jeff, and I am so thankful to be only shooting what I love and making a premium for it. I went from charging a $75 session fee and making an average of $350 for print sales, to charging a $300 session fee, and making an average $2,000 per senior girl. I’m now working happily ever-after.