Creating a Successful Studio: Blossom Blue Photography
Photography is a challenging yet infinitely rewarding career field for many. In this competitive industry it is imperative that we have support from our fellow photographers to help us reach our individual goals. Miranda Mirsec, the heart and soul of Blossom Blue Photography, shares her incredible insight into what makes her studio a success year after year with advice that will benefit the emerging and seasoned photographer alike.
What’s the inspiration behind the name Blossom Blue Photography? Tell us a little bit about your studio and photography focus.
True and simple…our inspiration is our clients. Every client has a story, and I’m always so excited to be part of it. One thing I’ve discovered along the way is that as much as we feel as an outsider behind the lens, it’s just not true. As photographers we are part of such important moments in a person’s life, and we help shape that experience. For this reason I cherish the privilege to be invited to share in a family’s celebration and welcomed into their homes and lives. I have been part of such amazing days and moments! The significance of these moments goes beyond the capture. It’s also about how this family will remember, enjoy, share and preserve these moments. Blossom Blue Photography places a high emphasis on exceptional customer care. We specialize in creating finished art pieces that tell a person’s life story, showcase those they love most and are organic reflections of their lifestyle and personality.
Wedding season is quickly approaching! How are you preparing for the upcoming months of heavy shooting and traveling? Will this season have you shooting in any destinations that you’ve never been to before? What are you most looking forward to this year?
We love, love and thrive on the intensity and passion behind wedding season and look forward each year to being adopted by ten new families! Our studio is available to be commissioned for a limited number of weddings per year, and two of those we plan as destination weddings. For us the connection is the driving force, so it’s all about who falls in love with us and who we fall in love with. This coming year we are looking forward to celebrating with a couple we fell in love with that lives local to our studio but is getting married in Italy during sunflower season….definitely one of the things on my bucket list!
One of the things our readers are most interested in is finding out what’s in the camera bag of their fellow photographers. What is your go-to equipment for weddings? Will you be shooting with any new additions this year or do you have a wish list item you’d like to share with us?
My style of photography is very light and organic in feel, so for this reason, and because we offer destination coverage, I keep things very simple. My favorite lens of all time is my 85mm 1.2. This lens and a warm sunset is my dream world. For weddings I carry two lenses, the 85mm & a 24-70mm, and my Canon Idx (which honestly I’m not worthy of). I coordinate with my second to ensure that between us we have other lens options when needed. I keep a camera and lens back ups in my car along with a flash and a large 5 in 1 collapsable light reflector in case I should want or need them. For portraits I choose two of the following options: 50mm, 85mm, 24-70mm or 28-105mm. Staples in my bag are my Expo disk, a small light reflector and like with weddings, ample CF cards and battery power.
Do you have any words of advice to wedding photographers who are just starting to book business? What’s something that you’ve learned over the years that is critically important to a successful shoot, but possibly not something a less experienced photographer would plan for?
Over the years some of the key things that I wish I would have known when I first started are:
- Not every client is my client. At the beginning we are so hungry to book and eager to please that we will take on clients at any sacrifice and cost. Unfortunately this will often be the death of many talented photographers that burn out or find they can’t survive or keep up. I was fortunate to have had much support (and luck) to now be going into our 7th year of business. AND I can honestly say that giving myself permission to say, “I’m sorry I don’t think I’m the right fit for you” was the most liberating sentence I ever uttered. However, photographers often turn the light on their struggles, failures or dissatisfaction in the direction of their clients when really it’s us not truly valuing our time and knowing what we love to do most. In order to get an opportunity to work with your target market and ideal client, you must first know who you are and what you love to do. The minute I knew I loved small one venue weddings, outdoors with spontaneous and passionate couples was the moment I got them, and it was then that my business flourished.
- TIMELINE, TIMELINE, TIMELINE! I desired to create art for my clients yet at the beginning I was at the whim of when they told me to show up and what and how they wanted me to do things. This never ends well. Although it’s important to truly get to know your clients and their dream wish list, it’s up to us to help guide and shape their day. For this reason I will not take on a wedding or session without having input into the timeline. One of the first things I do during our phone consultation is ask if they would be willing to let me create their day-of timeline and design a seamless, stress-free day that maximizes their time with family, each other and their coverage investment. In that timeline I always include a 2-hr play period before the ceremony for the couple, and I also set aside time for each of them to have time before with their girls & guys. I often tell couples the three things that make a great wedding are 1) couple 2) vendors and 3) an amazing TIMELINE!
- Show and include what you want to sell. As a professional you are only as good as the vendors you do business with as they will become a reflection of you. Blossom Blue Photography is committed to exceptional service and premium products and therefore have carefully chosen companies that offer only the best in customer care and product lines. Our studio showcases the products we want our clients to have and for us that means every client gets an album, wall art, archival prints and a hand crafted heirloom box.
- More isn’t necessarily more or better. Often we think that if we have lots and lots of clients that must mean we made it or that we are going to succeed. That isn’t necessarily the case. Yes, it’s a great thing when our services are in demand, but if you are sacrificing your well being and financially struggling it doesn’t equate to success for you, your family or your business. This part mirrors what I said in number 1 above, “In order for you to truly achieve your goals as an artist and as a business owner, you will need to get very clear about your target audience”. Specialization is really key. For me, working with my ideal client (even if this means less sessions per year) is far better, more fulfilling and profitable than being booked solid with the wrong clients just for the sake of saying “I’m so busy”.
- Don’t want cheap, then don’t be cheap. Pay yourself fairly and use premium products. We often make the mistake of thinking that in order to get booked we have to be cheap or give it away for free. It makes us feel good when people ask us to shoot things, however this philosophy never works. At some point you can’t do cheap or free anymore and that cliental that you thought you were building goes away because they still want cheap. For some reason as humans we don’t value that which comes easy. Price yourself and your products accordingly. Know your cost of doing business and don’t forget to pay yourself. Same goes with product line. If you want premium clients then offer premium products and services. Yes, sometimes things will cost a bit more, but in the end it will be worth it. Also, remember that knowing what your local economy can support is different than pricing yourself against the cheapest joe in town. Pricing wars are not a way to build a thriving business.
- Don’t compare yourself to others, after all no one ever shows their out takes or unedited files, so comparing yours with theirs is not a way to find self worth. Do what you love and in the process you will love what you do. Seek those that motivate and inspire you and choose those you follow based on who they are as people not just what they produce.
- Get insured! When starting out I didn’t think I could afford it…honestly you can’t afford to do business without it. All it takes is one accident or law suit and it’s over. No one thinks it will happen to them, but not having it is the biggest gamble and stressor ever! I sure wish I had had it when I dropped my new 85mm lens. Professional insurance is quite affordable with monthly options (often less then what you pay eating out once with the family) SO JUST GET IT! The peace of mind of knowing my gear, my business, clients and I are protected is priceless!!
- Last, but not least….be generous in all you do, and do all things with love (not to be confused with cheap OR a door mat). Volunteer for a worthy organization, network with other vendors, invest time in personal projects and surprise your clients with unexpected gifts and perks. The love and friendship you build is in the end what life is all about.
Miranda is the heart behind the Blossom Blue Photography team. She is a chaser of light, storyteller and lover of all things old. Miranda believes in celebrating the everyday moments with the people she loves most and cherishing the simple things in life that bring others joy. She is big on stopping to notice a day’s sunset and living life from a “home grown” perspective. She welcomes friends in as family so be forewarned she is generous with hugs and will call you sweetheart.