Sandra Henderson 0:00
Hey friends, and welcome back for another episode of the podcast!
Sandra Henderson 0:03
Before we dive into today’s episode, I wanted to take a quick second to give you a little bit of real talk:
Sandra Henderson 0:10
Your old way of doing things in your wedding photography business just doesn’t work anymore. Even if it’s gotten you this far things are changing in 2023. Standing out in a highly competitive wedding photography market these days take so much more than talent behind your camera. What’s gonna set you apart from your competition is delivering an incredible client experience going above and beyond so that your clients never have a single doubt about their decision to hire you.
Sandra Henderson 0:37
So you never say no, you start promising faster turnaround times you over-deliver quantities of photos, you send gifts, you give your clients 24/7 access to you and your text, emails and DMS.
Sandra Henderson 0:50
So what’s the problem? Well, it all takes mental and physical energy. And while it might be sustainable to do all the things when you have five or maybe even 10 clients, what about when you have 30 or more clients at one time? What happens if you’re sick or dealing with yet another chronic illness flare up? Because all my friends in the chronic illness club know that there is always another flare up!
Sandra Henderson 1:13
Or stick with me here on this one… What happens if you take a vacation? Yes, friend a vacation!
Sandra Henderson 1:20
All of a sudden you’re scrambling, right? You’re overwhelmed by all the things that you didn’t get done while you were taking time off. And you’re missing deadlines and feeling like you’re never gonna get caught up. You feel like you’re constantly apologizing to your clients, and you know that you’re not delivering the experience that you wanted to. And that’s when impostor syndrome always seems to find a way to creep in.
Sandra Henderson 1:42
You start thinking to yourself, everyone else seems to be able to do this, why can’t I?
Sandra Henderson 1:48
And that, friends, is exactly where I was in my business five years ago. It was the beginning of my chronic illness journey and I kept unexpectedly having to take time off. All of a sudden, every gallery I sent it was late. I would ignore my inbox for days, sometimes even weeks, because I just didn’t want to apologize to yet another client for dropping the ball. And I wasn’t taking care of myself in the slightest because I was living at my computer for 16 plus hours a day, I was skipping meals, and the only time I was taking off to rest was when my body forced me to.
Sandra Henderson 2:20
Does that resonate with anybody that’s listening? Raise your hand if that applies to you!
Sandra Henderson 2:25
Maybe you felt like you’re just not cut out to be a wedding photographer. Maybe you’ve tried implementing systems before, and it ended up just creating more work for you instead of taking some off your plate. After trying out so many different systems in my business, I almost gave up for those exact same reasons. Until one day it finally clicked.
Sandra Henderson 2:44
These systems weren’t working for me because I was just doing what everyone else was doing. As someone with a chronic illness, I have unique needs that I need to respect and set boundaries around in order for me and my business and my systems to work their best. So I tuned out all the noise. I used the basic foundations to building systems, and I found ways to simplify and streamline every aspect of my business behind the scenes. And that’s when everything changed.
Sandra Henderson 3:11
I stopped missing deadlines and I started getting rave reviews from clients again, I was delivering photos that I couldn’t be more proud of. But honestly, what was most surprising to me was that I was able to bring in more money while working significantly less.
Sandra Henderson 3:26
Four years ago, I was convinced that my time as a photographer had come to an end. But now I’m working a four-day workweek while running two different businesses. Imagine if your wedding photography business looked the same. Imagine beating every deadline and never having to apologize to your clients again. Imagine the freedom of taking time off no matter the reason without the stress and guilt that always seems to come along with it.
Sandra Henderson 3:53
Would eight weeks be worth it to make that happen? I see so many photographers going through the same struggles year after year. And so many of those same photographers tell me the exact same things. Things like “I don’t have systems in place because I just don’t need them,” or “I don’t even know where to start. It’s so overwhelming,” or “I’m already so busy. I do not have the time to learn anything new right now.”
Sandra Henderson 4:17
So when I started hearing all these things, that’s when I knew I needed to build a program that would help other wedding photographers get the same results that I’d had. And so that is why I’m so excited to be introducing Unfiltered + Simplified!
Sandra Henderson 4:30
A boot camp for wedding photographers who are ready to simplify the way they do things. You’ll learn how to fix five of the most common areas that every wedding photographer fall short: weekly planning workflows, client experience, post production and offboarding. You’ll be able to avoid past mistakes so that you and your business can continue to thrive. You’ll create simple, streamlined systems that work for your unique needs and no one else is you’ll boost your productivity no matter what life throws your way. And you’ll save time so that you can get back to doing the things that you love the most.
Sandra Henderson 5:05
Inside the boot camp, you’ll get eight weeks of live coaching calls, in-depth CRM, workflow reviews, co working sessions, weekly Voxer support, a Facebook community, replays and lifetime access to all upgrades to the program, the Simple System Mindmap, and so many bonuses like a questionnaire template bundle, an Asana weekly planner, email swipe files, and a one hour one on one coaching call with me!
Sandra Henderson 5:31
The total value of everything included is more than $8,500, but you can get it all in the beta round for just $697.
Sandra Henderson 5:41
8 weeks could be the difference between ending 2023 feeling like this was the best year you’ve ever had in business, or ending 2023 burnt out… yet again.
Sandra Henderson 5:52
I know you’re tired of having to constantly put out fires behind the scenes in your business. You’re tired of feeling guilty when you’re not working. You keep thinking that there has to be a better way and you are right. The most successful wedding photographers in the industry are utilizing systems because when they’re used strategically they work.
Sandra Henderson 6:11
I’m pulling back the curtain and giving you all of my system secrets that you can bring some freedom back into your life while delivering an incredible client experience no matter what life throws your way. If you want to get started, head over to simplysandrayvonne.ca/unfiltered and submit your application before March 31st!
Sandra Henderson 6:31
Okay, now let’s get on to today’s topic! There’s a little bit of a shift happening in the wedding photography industry right now. For the longest time – like, I think probably the majority, if not the full extent of my career, there have been two primary styles that the majority of wedding photographers have fallen into. There’s either light and airy or dark and moody. But recently there’s been a third category that’s been making its way to the forefront and that is editorial.
Sandra Henderson 6:58
It’s almost documentary inspired and photographers are utilizing flash to create strong shadows that contributes to a uniquely artistic style that I for one absolutely love. My guest on the podcast today is Alora Rachelle and she does a much better job of explaining exactly what editorial is. Alora is a Detroit based editorial wedding photographer and marketing coach who believes that mindset marketing and sales are the key foundations to growing a profitable business. We chatted about her decision to shift her style of photography into a new category and how wedding photographers can really embrace imperfection to not just capture memories, but create beautiful works of art for their clients.
Sandra Henderson 7:38
You’re listening to Episode 28 of Keeping It Candid!
Sandra Henderson 7:42
Welcome to Keeping It Candid. I’m your host, Sandra Henderson, an international wedding and family photographer and business coach. I help wedding photographers use systems to build out the back end of their businesses to gain control and continue to thrive no matter what life throws their way. And on a more personal note, I’m a strong Enneagram three wing two who is obsessed with tacos, and my love for traveling combined with navigating chronic illness life are just two of the many things that drive my passion for all things systems, workflows, and beating burnout as a business owner. Join me every week for a candid behind the scenes look at what it’s really like working as a wedding photographer, where I’ll give you actionable steps to take your business to the next level. Absolutely no fluff here, friends. So go grab your favorite notebook and pen and let’s dive into this week’s episode.
Sandra Henderson 8:30
Hey, and thanks so much for joining me! I’m so excited to have you on the podcast today to talk about something that’s a little bit different than the business side of things. This is the first time that we have a more like a creative topic, and so thank you so much for joining me and for suggesting it! I’m super excited to dive in, but before we do, why don’t we have a quick little intro, if you want to let everybody know who you are and a little bit about your business?
Alora Rachelle 8:53
Yeah, so my name is Alora Rachelle. I am a wedding photographer based here in Detroit. And I’m not just a, I guess your average wedding photographer. I like to call myself more of like an editorial wedding photographer. I feel like it’s like a mixture of all the different styles meshed together probably besides dark and moody. But I’d love to just definitely dive into this today. I have been in the industry for almost 12 years, and it’s been a long time coming. It’s been super fun though. I’ve shot well over 200 weddings. I have two kids, like, I mean, where do you want me to start? Where do you want me to end? You know?
Sandra Henderson 9:31
I love that. Well, everybody, you are hearing from a seasoned pro today! I love that you have done over 200 weddings. That’s absolutely amazing. What a career milestone to hit.
Alora Rachelle 9:41
Yeah, it’s it. You know, it feels like it flies by because the wedding season at least here in the Midwest, like everything’s pretty steady, like during the spring and then like summer fall hits and everything is like a tornado. And we’re like, oh my gosh, should I shoot 40 Weddings this year? Oh my gosh, that’s insane. And so doing that for years years and years, I don’t know, I feel like I hit burnout really, really bad. And I had to look at my business model, look at my pricing model and be like, I’ve been the same for the past like four years. And so I took a long look at everything. And maybe this was like after COVID, too, because I feel like before COVID I was just going, going going, I was so busy that I did not realize that I wasn’t shooting the weddings that I liked. I wasn’t even doing the style that I liked. I was just kind of going along with whatever niche box I was supposed to fit in. I don’t know if anyone else can relate to this. But it’s like, Oh, if you shoot, you know, regular exposure overexposed the near light and airy photographer, right, and you just stay there like you shoot like them. You fit in like them, you pose like them. But like I never, I never fit into any of those. Like, I wanted to be dark and moody. But I wanted people to see like details. And I didn’t want things to be so dark that it was like grungy. And so for years, I was just like, going back and forth, going back and forth, tweaking my edit and just trying to figure out like, where I belonged, what my niche was. And then I noticed because I’m a trend watcher, and I’m always like, analyzing marketing and stuff that LA was adapting this like Hollywood editorial, like, harsh flash, but like just true to life images. It was clean, it was crisp, but the images were documentary. They were fun. They weren’t super stuffy. And Posey, because I’m not even that kind of person, when I was going to like higher on weddings, because I like positioned my portfolio for that. I didn’t even know how to act. I was like, ah, what should I say like, I’m not even super proper. I’m just like, very no nonsense and like down to earth and real. And I mean, I loved fashion, I loved higher end things. But also like I was just a very laid back individual. So anyway, it’s goes to show that like you can really brand yourself anywhere and like switch around and all these different niches. But for me, I feel like when I finally figured out what it was, and I was like, This is who I was all along. And I was like trying to fit into all these different things. So yeah, that is like my story of like, how I got into editorial weddings.
Sandra Henderson 12:12
As you were figuring these things out which during COVID, I can totally relate. I think that timeframe gave a lot of people a lot of perspective and just wanting to like let go of the things that were not serving them and making them happy anymore. But what were some of the like, more creative changes that you made, you mentioned that that LA style has a lot of like harsh, harsh flash. But what were some of the other things that you did creatively to make yourself your work more of an editorial style.
Alora Rachelle 12:38
So basically, editorial weddings is like, it’s really interesting, because honestly, I think it’s what everybody has always wanted, honestly, it’s like you get the documentary style, you get the moments, you also get to feel like a celebrity, you get really good lighting really high end look. And it looks like it could belong in a magazine. Like who doesn’t want a wedding that looks like in a magazine. I mean, I mean, at least for me, that was like, always my dream who wouldn’t want a wedding in vogue, you know. And so the primary focus basically for editorial weddings is like to tell a story. And it’s like an elevated story in the best light possible. So what I had to do and what I was always gearing away from because for some reason, I don’t know why. But when the natural light photographer movement was around, like we never used Flash, I don’t know, I don’t know, if you like remember, but it was like just bump your ISO or, you know, bring a light reflector, or, you know, make sure that you position your clients by Windows only. And I used to think, like, what can I do? What would I do when the sun went down? You know? And so like, yeah, we would bounce flash, but it would be like really just blast. It wasn’t nothing special. And so our clients didn’t really get like super fun. I don’t know, editorial images, I guess. But so I did a deep dive and I really did study lighting I played with lighting, I played with off camera flash on camera flash. I just had fun. I wasn’t making it like super hard. I wasn’t overthinking it. And so I kind of built a formula overall. And I definitely do like the same, probably five to six things every single time now that I come to a wedding, I set up my lights, I play around with them, I position them I make changes, I take something away, add something else. And that was really just the biggest shift. Clients want to know that you know how to shoot, no matter what happens. Like if it rains, and all of a sudden it’s a tornado weather storm. They want to know that you’re going to be able to still take good photos and like, oh, the light is gone. And my bounce lashes not that strong. So I guess you know, like, and then they get their photos and they’re not gonna rave about them. You know what I mean? And honestly, like my reception photos are my favorite photos of the whole day. Because they’re so fun. And it’s just I don’t know, it’s it’s my own formula. It’s something that I came up with and it’s something that I feel like it’s just in the moment. It’s not extra. It’s I know, it’s Hollywood. It’s celebrity. It’s studio 54 is It’s all the things so yeah, that’s basically what it was. It’s just teaching myself like in any situation. And I think that it and when you able to do that you can really charge anything that you want. Because your clients will be like, Oh, well, have you done this? Have you done that and be like, Yep, I know how to do this, I know how to do that I have all the equipment, no matter what you know, and they’re just like, okay, this person is a professional, that just a photographer with a certain style, they can, you know, they can handle whatever comes their way.
Sandra Henderson 15:26
That’s so important. As someone who is a light and airy photographer, I usually say like, like natural, but also comfortable using Flash, I always advocate for, like, it’s still possible to do both. And in certain situations, you can use your flash, to get that light and natural and airy look, I just did branding photos for a client who she has a Massage Studio that’s in her basement with just some small windows. And when she got her photos, she was like, oh my god, it looks like there’s windows everywhere. Because we used a flash to fill it in. It doesn’t look doesn’t have to look harsh, unless you want it to look harsh. And I love how you had described the editorial style as like studio 54 That just painted the clearest picture in my head of exactly like, what editorial style looks like?
Alora Rachelle 16:10
Yes, it’s just like one big party fully lit. And I don’t know, it’s just it’s a vibe. And I just did a wedding last Saturday where they had a horror. And I was able to there was like 250 people there. And I had to stand on like a bunch of rocks to be able to get like the entire scene. But my two OCS are going off. And they were like creating this huge, bright light. And it looked like Studio 54. And I was just like, This is the coolest thing in the world. Like, maybe three years ago, I would have had no idea how to do this, it would have just been like a bunch of photos of people close up, but like not the full picture, you know. So I don’t know, like you can pretty much make artificial light your own. You know what I mean? Like you can use it for light and airy. I’ve seen it done where like you can use it as fill light. You know what I mean? And I think that’s the thing that people, like a lot of people don’t know about artificial light is you can literally use it to expose for the shadows expose for the highlights, like just like you do in camera, you know?
Sandra Henderson 17:05
Yeah, absolutely. And you had talked about how you’re not overthinking things anymore. I think that’s so important. I think a lot of times we get so hung up on the technical side of things that we hold ourselves back from really just fully embracing our creativity and being worried that we’re going to do something wrong, but sometimes doing something wrong. I’m doing air quotes right now for everybody who won’t be able to see us when they listen to this. But like when you’re doing something wrong. So often like that’s when the magic happens. Like we’re seeing this blurry photo trend that’s happening right now that’s super popular. When I was in college studying photography, if I had handed in an assignment that looked like this, it like I would have failed for sure. But now like the things that people are doing, the creativity that they’re using, and incorporating blur into their photos is absolutely beautiful. Mm hmm.
Alora Rachelle 17:53
Yeah, I think it’s to kind of give off like a more of a filmy like, look, we’re kind of going back to the 90s in a way and like a lot of the style and I kind of like John Dolan, like John Dolan is he shot Gwyneth Paltrow his wedding and I was like listening to him explain it, but Gwyneth Paltrow was like, I don’t even want to pose for one single photo on my wedding day. Like that’s what I do for a living. I just want you to capture how it felt, capture everything. And he did it in the most beautiful way blurry photos, sideways photos, photos of people crying, maybe photos of like super dark filmy things with a lot of grain, but it captured a motion. And so like, what people have to realize is, we obsess so much over logistical things. And our clients just want a picture. Like sometimes clients just want the moment, they want the emotion. And however we decide to photograph that is up to us. Like, for some reason, there was a point where we kind of took the creativity out of photography, we took the fun out of photography, and I’ve learned that by like messing around with film, I had a pen tech 645 And two, but I never used it, it was just too heavy. So I became a 35 millimeter girl. I’ve been playing around with my Holga and those pictures are not perfect, but they capture the vibe, they capture the moment they’re so fun. You never know what you’re gonna get, you’re probably gonna get like leaks, but it’s just about the moment. And like my client, you know, when I if I ever give them like film scans and stuff, and I’m like, Mmm, this was a really grainy photo. Can you just like no, they love the imperfection. They appreciate it. They liked that they weren’t getting the same exact image. You know what I mean? In 50 frames. There was variety there. There was fun. There was like texture, I don’t know. So that’s definitely something that I had been leaning into more and what I’ve learned, it’s like as I have raised my price is substantially like my clients don’t even care how I do it as long as it’s captured, as long as it’s done. It’s really just me obsessing over logistics.
Sandra Henderson 19:57
Yeah, that’s so true. And like I I have actually a sticky note on my monitor when I’m editing this as Done is better than perfect because I used to waste so much time getting hung up on like dropping the magenta down by one in Lightroom. And like my husband’s watching me do this. And he’s like I have, there’s no difference from what you just had to now, the average viewer is not going to notice one notch down in your Magento has or you know, a tiny little bit of blur added into the photo, things like that, or a little bit of grain more often than not, they don’t know, they’re looking at the whole photo, they’re seeing the emotion, they’re seeing the people that they love in these photos, and they’re not noticing all those little technical imperfections that we harp over as photographers.
Alora Rachelle 20:43
Mm hmm. Yeah. And so that’s why I think this, this blurry trend is really, I guess trendy, I did a couple of them. And it’s super fun to play with. But what I think the message is that clients don’t necessarily care so much about perfection. And I feel like it’s allowing us as photographers to shoot our own, what I call this, like the money shot, like the shot that we like, that we’re just like playing around with and ends up being like one of their favorites on their profile picture. And it could have been a crop, it could have been a black and white image that was like done in really bad lighting or whatever. But sometimes they they love the creative stuff, too. Don’t like create a portfolio that’s like so stoic and like. So copy and paste, rinse and repeat what you give everyone else like, their story is different, their wedding is different, they are different people. So like, tailor their story and their wedding day to them. And that was something I’ve been doing for years. But I didn’t do it in this way. I just kind of shot the must have shot. And then I had like, very little room for creativity, because I felt like I have to get these must have shots, I had to get this shot less, I have to get this, or I’m not a good photographer, or didn’t capture the full story. And while we still do get those things, I still leave a little room to like, and a lot of flexibility to shoot them differently and not exactly the same every single time. Because then you start operating a machine and the creativity is gone. And there’s just a business. And it’s not it’s not fun anymore, I don’t know. So I’m learning to put the fun back into like my weddings and the way that I shoot and it has been a game changer. I have been very fulfilled in my work. And my clients love the work that I’ve been producing. And I start thinking to myself, like, this is probably why I got into this in the first place. Like I was making art, I turned it into a business, and I kind of was running it as a business. But now I want to bring the art back into the business.
Sandra Henderson 22:30
I love that. So so much. So as you were making the shift in your business, did you do anything to prepare your clients, you had mentioned that you started tailoring your portfolio to appeal to that sort of style of wedding a little bit more? But did you have any sort of interaction with your clients to set their expectations for what their photos would look like in the end?
Alora Rachelle 22:52
No, actually, not. I, um, something that comes naturally to me is like brand strategy and attraction marketing. So like, I use those two things and every facet of my business. So I’m like, Okay, if I want to track this client, what kind of images will let this client know that I’m the professional in this thing. And so I would go through my favorite galleries, tons of galleries, and I would curate the best images and the strongest images that were telling the story for me, but also showcasing a motion, the vibe, the moment, the OCF all the things that they’re probably gonna get anyway, but like an elevated way, so they don’t even have to ask me like, Oh, am I gonna get a photo like this, like, you’ve seen this same photo, duplicate different ways with the same sort of lighting, so you probably know you’re gonna get it, you know. And so I just pretty much do like every year. I do like a soft, rebrand launch. So like every year, you know, I take a look at my work my pricing, and think to myself, do I want to stay here? Do I want to elevate something? Do I want to reach a different market, you know, and so that’s pretty much what we all do, like November, December, January are right to like appeal to like a newer client. And so once I have curated and I talked to my dessert with my designer about what I wanted, and I had all my images curated for the people I wanted to attract, which was myself, ultimately, I kept thinking, I love this image. And I know that if I was a bride since I was a bride that this this image would definitely attract. You know, I’m the kind of person basically that I am. And so like putting yourself in your clients shoes, but your ideal client in a way, which I don’t like saying, but like I guess in terms like an ideal client could be somebody that values the same work that you create, I don’t mean what kind of purse they buy, what kind of colors they wear, what kind of coffee they drink. I mean, what does this person value that you can provide? What service what experience? What I don’t know, everything their portfolio, your whole business Like, and the people are out there. I used to think that like, there’s probably not enough clients that want this style, it seems a little specific in some ways, like its editorial. Like, it’s not really that trendy here in the Midwest, you know what I mean? Like, it’s taking a minute to come over here, even though I was so sure. Like, this is who I am like, what if people don’t want it? You know, and after I launched my new site, I mean, immediately, I was getting inquiries, and I was getting high end inquiries, kind of like, oh, my gosh, I’ve been looking for your work. I can’t believe they have somebody like this in Detroit. And I’m just like, so you know, it was like, you just sometimes got to trust yourself, trust your gut. And I definitely believe in having like, a USP that sets you apart from everybody else. And so that was like, my unique, you know, service my you my unique experience my unique brand proposition. Yeah, editorial wedding.
Sandra Henderson 25:53
Oh, that’s so awesome. It’s always nice when you can kind of start to make those shifts and changes and really see the payoff. I know sometimes, like when it comes to marketing, especially if you’re a photographer who is using social media, as you’re, like, wow, tripping over my words are hard. Yeah, they really are. For photographers who are using social media as their main marketing channel, a lot of times, it feels like you’re doing so much work, and you’re not reaping the benefits from it. So it’s nice when you are able to make those changes on your website and things like that, and really start attracting the kind of clients that bring life back into your business.
Alora Rachelle 26:31
Yeah, and it’s definitely not like a silver bullet. It’s not gonna, like propel you instantly. I’ve been building this brand for a long time. So like, I was already getting, you know, client inquiries constantly and all these other things. But this strategy is what got me future to the Metro times, like this strategy is what got me my first six figure year, like, it’s a little slow. In the beginning, it took me two years to finally take off, I was setting everything up, I was showcasing my best on my portfolio, I was like, using tons of brand messaging, saying the kind of things that I like, loved shooting the things that I loved about this particular couple, the wedding day. And eventually, I mean, now probably wouldn’t take two years for someone to do this. But, um, you can definitely attract the client that is like, I guess your dream client, whatever. And, um, and you’d be so surprised, like, once the slow burn is finally gone, and everything just kind of explodes. It feels like confetti, it feels like the neverending content machine, but it’s not gonna happen overnight. And that’s fine. You know, I mean, you just you got to everybody’s got to put in their hours. I feel. I totally
Sandra Henderson 27:43
Agreed. That’s so true. I love that you brought up brand new messaging, because that’s so important across the board, regardless of if you are going for an editorial style or not. But I think if you’re looking to make a shift, it becomes even more important because you have to change the way that you’re doing things to start attracting a different kind of client.
Alora Rachelle 28:03
Yeah, I feel like what you put out there and the way that you talk about it, and the way that you make that connection with your future client, ideal client or whatever. I just, I don’t know, I definitely have studied, like commercial marketing. I’ve studied everything. I mean, I mostly study like really good brands like Apple and like watching their marketing campaigns, or like when they first launched like air pods when they were like unheard of, which is hard to believe, because I feel like they’re everywhere now. Would have been a third or fourth version. Yeah, but I remember when they first launched them. No, I thought they launched them with noise cancellation. Because I was like, Why do I need noise cancellation? Like I already have air pods. It’s fine. And they would show this commercial this girl you know, and she’s in New York and you everybody knows if you’ve been to New York, it is so freaking loud. You can’t even hear yourself think you’re bumping butts against everybody. Like it’s awful. I don’t know, personally, New York gives me anxiety. I guess I’m a Chicago girl. But then it’s too windy. And then I get Winburn whatever tangent. So anyway, she turned on the noise cancellation. And she’s like, in a different world. Like the colors change. It went from drab to like super cinematic, like all these different hues of colors like purple, blue and green. And she’s dancing everywhere. Go figure. Now she’s a professional dancer. And all you hear is the music in her head. And it’s like, you know, they had a tagline. I forgot it now, because it’s been a while. But it basically the message that they were showing you was that when you have noise cancellation, you transcend into a different location, you know what I mean? And so it’s like, stuff like that, like the brand messaging is like, selling you how you would feel if you had XYZ. So we have to do the same thing with our wedding photography, portfolios, you know, and you can’t just like post something that you don’t like and then wonder why you keep getting clients and weddings like the one you don’t like it’s like you literally what you put out is what you’re gonna get. Okay, people like your portfolio. As the standard like, Okay, what kind of work does this person have? What kind of people does this person work with? You know? And so and usually what’s your Instagram do that with everything, you know, whatever platform that you have, and you’re building a portfolio for. So yeah, brand messaging, attraction, marketing, all that stuff is important.
Sandra Henderson 30:16
Yes, it really, really is. And I love that you said it’s about like, how you want them to feel that is really like, if anybody is taking one specific takeaway from this episode. I hope that that is it. Because applying that kind of perspective to your brand messaging really just makes it so much easier.
Alora Rachelle 30:34
Yeah, you just you have to know like, and so this is like, why I have like, inside my program, we have like this deep dive guide. And it’s like, 10 pages long, like, honestly, kudos to anybody that finishes it. Like maybe they should like play a movie in the background so they can focus. But once you figure out like, all the answers to the questions like why did you do this? Why did you get started? What are you drawn to? Like, what styles you like? What’s your favorite part of the wedding day? Like all of these things, right? And then you read over your answers. And, you know, hopefully you answered them, you know, completely honest. But when you answer these, you’re like, oh, my gosh, this is what I like, this is my favorite part of the wedding day, maybe I should only showcase that, you know what I mean? Of course, they’re gonna get like, the must have images and stuff. But if this is the kind of thing that I want to create, this is the kind of client that I’m wanting to attract whatever it is, then you need to put all of that out there and figure out what makes you different. So that the whole market is saturated. State statement doesn’t apply to you. And it won’t, because there’s nobody else like you, you know?
Sandra Henderson 31:36
Yes. That’s so so true. So we’ve kind of touched on this a little bit with the last couple of answers. But if someone was wanting to make a shift in their work, and in their business to having a more editorial look to their photos, and attracting more of an editorial, or attracting more clients who are drawn to the editorial style, what would you say is the best place to get started?
Alora Rachelle 31:59
Oh, wow, that’s a lot. That’s like a heavy answer. Yeah, so well, one, figure out if, like, you’re doing it, because you love the style, and not because it’s like on the go trending. But also be prepared to level up everything, like, I have been giving a six star if you will client experience for like, so cheap for so long. Because it’s a non negotiable. For me, that’s like my marketing. It’s like client experiences everything. And it’s easiest like word of mouth. So I mean, if you’re willing to level up everything that you do, and level up your work, you know, figure out how to compose a really like eye catching image, learning how to direct your clients, and not just capture them, like documentary is great, but you’re gonna have to learn some more skills. And I have a free class actually, that teaches all these things. Actually, I don’t know why I mentioned that. But I can give you that link. But all these things will set you apart. And then it will really propel you into like the editorial weddings market. Like once you make just a couple of shifts and a little bit of like up levels and yeah, be prepared. I mean, also they pay really well. So it’s not like, haha it’s not too bad!
Sandra Henderson 33:16
That’s always nice. Yeah, of course. And yeah, definitely send me that link and I will be sure to include it in the show notes for everyone. And you mentioned earlier as well that you have a course I know that that’s something that’s open all the time for photographers are correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that when we last talked you said that it was opening around um, so I would love to hear a little bit more about that.
Alora Rachelle 33:41
Yeah, so I do have an editorial weddings course and it’s pretty much like the three modules of what I basically talked about so the first thing would be like being inspired being inspired by like cinema being inspired by light being inspired by it’s not like your average shoot better wedding photography course it’s kind of like bringing back the creativity into things looking for inspiration elsewhere looking I believe in like creating cinematic wedding photography so I actually probably didn’t mention that so much but I have been inspired by movies, cinema directors, Wes Anderson for like years and I never knew why. And but I did bring that into like my work I love like shooting you know, symmetrical and all these other things. But that was like that’s basically module one right composition, inspiration, all that other stuff. And then learning how to direct your clients universally with ease and not just giving them like three prompts like jump on this person’s back or do this and that like it’s a lot more of things that work for everyone. I remember one time like I had a higher end client and I was like oh my gosh, jump on. Go ahead and like jump on his bag and she was wearing like this like silk Luxe gown and she was like no I was like, that’s fair. That’s fair. You can’t really do that. Yeah, I know what I was thinking, I apologize. But being able to use, like the universal prompts that I use for every single wedding for every single engaged session, they work for everything all the time, anytime. And then the last thing is documenting. And yes, like documenting is like, you know, shooting the moment, but I think the difference between like documenting, and adding that editorial touch is telling a story, like don’t just shoot a photo, and make it blurry and be like, Yep, that was the vibe that was a moment, like being very intentional. And just like telling the story in a way that no one else could, you know, unique to you, of course, but also maybe in a cinematic way, as well. So those are kind of like the three modules. It’s a really easy binge, and it’ll teach you everything you need to know about cinematic editorial weddings.
Sandra Henderson 35:49
Oh, my gosh, that course sounds absolutely amazing. You may be seeing some registrations for me coming your way. Because that’s definitely something that I’ve been playing around with a lot more this year and wanting to incorporate more into my style. So that’s another reason why I was super excited to chat with you today. So anyone else who can relate if you’re listening, definitely make sure you go and check out Laura’s course. And where can everybody find you on social media?
Alora Rachelle 36:13
Yeah, so I am @alora.rachelle on Instagram. And my website for now is alorarachelle.com. I’m actually going to be moving over like my wedding stuff onto like Alora Rachelle Weddings because I am splitting businesses, and I’m going to be a full time educator and I cannot wait.
Sandra Henderson 36:32
Oh, that’s so exciting. Congrats.
Alora Rachelle 36:34
Oh my gosh, thank you! Yeah, I’m really excited. It’s been it’s such a long time. Like in the works. I feel like I’ve been planning as since August. I mean, I know it’s only November. But still it feels like a long Yeah. Oh, for sure. And they also have a podcast called The Hello CEO podcast, you can binge it every single Monday, I’ll be giving out tips on brand strategy, marketing, and of course sales. So yeah, check me out.
Sandra Henderson 36:58
I absolutely love your podcast. So I will second that. Definitely go and check it out.
Alora Rachelle 37:02
Thank you so much. Yeah, it was such an honor to be here.
Sandra Henderson 37:05
Oh, well, thank you so much for joining me. Do you have any final thoughts before we wrap up our chat?
Alora Rachelle 37:10
Um, honestly, I feel like if you are really intimidated by getting into like this, I don’t want to say is it a niche, I don’t know, like this, I guess this niche of photography, it’s not overwhelming, it’s just a little more intentional. So just think about being more intentional, a little less sloppy, also being able to handle any light situation that comes your way it’s and also don’t forget to like have fun. Like, at the end of the day, you know, the wedding day is so special. And it’s honestly an honor every single time when a client books me to capture their story, the vows that I listened to, and I get to know so much about them. It’s such an intimate part of the day, whether it’s eight hours or 12 hours. So it’s always an honor and a privilege. Don’t take it for granted. Don’t abuse your clients and treat them just like a paycheck. It’s a wedding day. So yeah, that was amazing.
Sandra Henderson 38:03
Thank you so much again for being here. I absolutely love this conversation. And I’m so glad that you were able to join me.
Alora Rachelle 38:09
Yes, thank you so much for having me.
Sandra Henderson 38:11
Thank you so much for listening. You can find full show notes from today’s episode at simplysandrayvonne.ca/keepingitcandid in the meantime, let’s connect. You can find me on Instagram and Tiktok just search @simplysandrayvonne. And if you’re loving this podcast, I’d be so honored if you’d go ahead and hit that subscribe button and leave a review. Until next time!
Alora Rachelle is a wedding photographer turned marketing coach who believes that mindset, marketing, and sales are the key foundations to to growing a profitable business. She is passionate about helping others scale a profitable business that also keeps you the CEO your business (without the hustle & the burnout).
When she started she took her business from $10,000 to $100,000 in two years. Alora’s work has been published in over 20 publications such as ELLE, The Knot, Channel 7 ABC News, Popsugar, etc. Alora is the creator of The Wedding CEO, a group coaching program that will take your business from $10k to six figures teaching the same methods that propelled her business forward.
March 21, 2023