New Ideas For the New Year
During my slow season this year I’ve been flirting with all kinds of new ideas to implement at Ryan Watkins Photography. I read a book titled The E-myth Revisited in December 2016 which was recommended to me by some close friends as well as my professors in college. This book really helped me see some of the errors in my thinking about running a business. Since then I’ve been reading tons of business and marketing books as well as listening to lectures and podcasts by other professionals in my industry. I’ve also been bouncing ideas off of fellow photographer friends from my alma mater Hallmark Institute of Photography. Even though this is still my slow season I’ve been working as much if not more than my busy season because of all the changes, updates, and preparation I want to get done. I’m far from finished with all the study and implementation I want to do during my slow season but I think I have a good idea of where Ryan Watkins Photography is headed in the future.
Okay You’re Changing Some Things But Where Are You Located?
First of all to clear up any confusion Ryan Watkins Photography is still based in and is catering to mid-Michigan. My home is in Clare, Michigan but I love to travel and regularly am working with clients on the other side of the state in cities like Grand Rapids and Detroit. I regularly run into people in Clare who think I live in New York City for some reason. I have no idea how this rumor came about but rest assured I’m still in little old Clare and am free to take care of your portrait, wedding, commercial, and fine art photography needs. I’m not living in Massachusetts, Brooklyn, Grand Rapids, a small cabin in the Canadian Rockies, a state penitentiary, Narnia, nor any location other than Clare, Michigan. I am willing to travel and love destination shoots but my area of emphasis is Clare, Midland, and Mt Pleasant, Michigan.
Okay So You’re Still in Clare, But What Kind of Photography Are You Doing Now? All I See Is Nature Stuff on Facebook and Instagram?
As many of you who have known and followed my work since I was in high school know I have always loved nature and wildlife photography and even had several magazine publications prior to receiving my formal photographic training. During my studies at Hallmark Institute of Photography my main focus shifted to portraiture instead of nature and landscape. Since returning to Clare after receiving the Highest Academic Honor award at Hallmark in 2013 I’ve gradually started to do more and more personal work with the subjects ranging from portraiture to nature at night to photographs taken with my iPhone. In 2016 I started selling my fine art nature prints online and quit viewing my nature work as just a personal series but instead as another source of revenue for my business.
So what types of photography do I currently do? I’m a portrait, wedding, commercial, and fine art photographer. When people ask what I shoot I reply that I’m primarily a portrait photographer, mostly because that’s where most of my revenue comes from. I still photograph senior, family, child, and pet portraits and this is the main focus of Ryan Watkins Photography. I also am starting to put more emphasis on the wedding part of Ryan Watkins Photography. I do do commercial and event photography occasionally but these jobs are few and far between mostly because there is not much need for this type of work in my area. I still offer these services because I’m one of the few games in town. Lastly, as aforementioned, I now sell fine art prints as well online and have several fine art series that are completed as well as several in progress.
You’re A Portrait, Wedding, Commercial, and Fine Art Photographer, But What Are You Changing About Your Prices and Products?
One of the first new changes coming to RWP is I’m completely revamping my products and pricing! My creation fees for portrait sessions and weddings have remained the same but I no longer offer collections. Instead I offer all items a la carte and at a far lower price than my prior a la carte price list. After three and a half years of using, more or less, the same price list I regularly had clients who wanted things slightly different that what was offered in my collections. There was very little consistency in what clients wanted as well so I couldn’t just tweak my collections. Some wanted more small prints and no large prints where as others wanted more large prints and less small prints. So instead of offering collections with a preset list of prints and products you get you can now choose each item individually with no minimum or maximum purchase. I’m also offering new styles of save the date cards, wedding albums, portrait books, phone cases, and canvas prints. In addition to the print products I now offer thumb drives with the web sized digital files from your wedding or portrait session.
Throughout 2017 I will be posting a variety of blog posts featuring each individual product I offer including portrait books, cards, iPhone cases, luxury wood prints, luxury metal prints. luxury canvas prints, standard prints, Animoto slideshows, and thumb drives
. Examples of products are available to see in person during the viewing session. A full price list for either portraits or weddings is available here
So to explain my pricing with utmost brevity, you first pay the creation fee which covers travel, pre-session consultation, planning, session, retouching, viewing session, product creation, and delivery. Next you choose any combination of prints, books, digital files, or other products that I offer for an additional fee.