Richard is shining the photog spotlight on our friend Jose Villa! Jose is a crazy-talented fine art wedding photographer, crafting romantic, playful, and stunning images… he’s all about making something beautiful. We got to have a cozy lil’ chitchat with this legendary photog, so take some time to get to know Jose!
Richard: What is your favorite camera and why?
Jose Villa: I love my Contax 645 camera with my 80 mm 2.0 lens. I've had this camera since it came out 14 years ago. The price was more then $7,000, but I was lucky enough to get it for 1/2 that amount because I was still a student. It was collecting dust for more than two years after I got it because I was so afraid to use it! At the time the price of film and processing was way less than today, so I had no excuse... It just seemed too heavy and too slow, but I finally picked it up and challenged myself to make pretty photos on my own time. When I got the results back from the lab, I was hooked!
R: What's your favorite memory of shooting with film?
JV: My favorite memory has to be traveling the world with a Holga and/or my Hassleblad. Places like Cuba, Morocco, Mexico, Italy and France have me giddy to go back...
R: Why is it important to have continuous communication with your lab(s)?
JV: Oh, don't get my started here... I try to tell myself that I’m not that technical, etc, etc, but the bottom line is that I actually am. I know what I want and I know what I need to get that look for myself and my clients.
Communication is key when finding that look and feel of your final images... The good news is that you have options--the bad news is that the reaction you'll get back from each lab is never the same. Find the lab that makes you shine, and on top of that, the one that makes you feel good and look good. Richard Photo Lab is that for me; believe me, I've done the testing!
R: Do you have any pre-shoot rituals? We wanna know the quirky, weird stuff.
JV: I don’t like to eat breakfast before I shoot a wedding! I will feel too full and it will make me look five pounds heavier. I also like to pack my bag totally last minute; it gives me a rush and a heart pounding to make sure I get it all. I just hope I don’t forget my film on the way out... EEEK!
R: Let’s play a game of “Either/Or”! Savory or sweet?
R: Dogs or cats?
R: Vintage or modern?
R: Warm weather or cold weather?
JV: Warm weather.
R: Biggie or Tupac?
R: Early bird or night owl?
JV: Early bird.
R: Crossword or Sudoku?
R: Chocolate or vanilla?
R: Urban or rural?
R: Breakfast or dinner?
R: Batman or Superman?
R: Historical Non-fiction or SciFi/Fantasy?
JV: Historical Non-Fiction.
R: Comedy or drama?
R: Truth or dare?
R: What song/music do you listen to get pumped up?
JV: Anything that is new today… I’m even okay with some Taylor Swift.
R: If you weren't a photographer, what would you be when you grow up?
JV: I like the idea of being a stylist. Or a set designer. Or even a mailman! Whatever it takes to make people happy.
R: If you were a super hero, what would your super power be?
JV: To have the power show up anywhere in the world with a snap of a finger!
R: What is your favorite word, and why?
JV: "Yikes"! LOL, because it reminds me of old school cartoons, and I loved watching cartoons when I was younger (and even today if I had time!).
Richard is so excited that our pal Jose Villa is doing our first social media takeover! Tune in 1/19-1/23 to our Instagram to see all things Jose, from stunning film photography to sneak peeks behind the scenes. Or search the hashtags #josetakesoverrichard and #therichardtakeover.
It’s a brand new year full of brand new opportunities to create amazing imagery. But is your photography business ready for the New Year? Richard has 10 tips to help jump-start your business in 2015, plus 15% off in ROES* to fill out your marketing tool kit for this year.
1. Have A Portfolio for Your Audience
It’s fair to say that we’re all suffering from online fatigue—yes, it can be an amazing marketing tool, but when you’re sitting face-to-face with a potential client, a screen just can’t compete with full-size, tangible imagery. Pull potential clients out of their everyday digital world and make a personal connection through a printed portfolio. Photo books are an excellent way to not only display your portfolio, but to cater the collection of work you are showing to the audience you are presenting to. Try designing and printing separate books for your different areas of expertise, whether it’s fashion, fine art, wedding, travel, portraits, etc.
2. Get Your Gear in Shape
Restock your film inventory, clean up your equipment, explore new gadgets! Now's the time to make sure your photog kit is filled with everything you'll need, so when your busy time hits you can focus on shooting. Freestyle Photographic Supplies has everything you'll need to hit the ground running in 2015.
3. Build Your Network…
It’s all about who you know. No, it’s not just Hollywood jargon… you wouldn’t believe how much you can grow your business by growing your network. Make friends and start relationships with other professionals and vendors at your next shoot. Also, take advantage of tradeshows, workshops, and other fun gatherings—those are some of the easiest places to meet more peeps!
- Grow your network at this year’s Photo Field Trip, plus save 5% on your ticket with promo code FIELDTRIPRICHARD. You can request your invite here.
- Rub elbows with the best in the Wedding and Portrait industry at WPPI 2015! You can get your free 3 day expo pass by signing up for our emails… we’ll be sending out the link to your free ticket soon! And don’t forget to visit us at Booth #1607.
4. …and Maintain Relationships
Once you’ve made some new industry friends, be sure to keep in touch! Posting your photos on social media? Tag other vendors that were involved in the event and use associated hashtags. Have a client who needs an event designer, beauty artist, etc? Refer folks from your network that you’ve seen in action! Can’t take a job because you are already booked? Make reliable photog friends you can send jobs to, and they’ll most-likely return the favor.
This may seem a little too obvious, but it’s a mistake that lots of us make, all the time—typos! In the process of maintaining your relationships, be sure to do a double-take on emails and social posts for accurate referrals and tags of names/companies. It can be easy to miss an opportunity to connect because of auto-correct.
6. Don’t Leave Them Empty Handed
After you’ve made a connection with a potential client or another vendor, give them something to remember your name and your brand by. Press cards are super versatile, and can be used to present your images as well as information on your brand & business. Watercolor flat press cards can be used like miniature fine art prints you can leave with clients! Or, send a folded card to follow up with clients that could use your services again, like a bride who may need portraits of her new family, or a designer you’ve worked with that will need someone to photograph their new line.
7. Be a Dependable Marketer
It sounds strange, but consistent marketing, especially online, is an extremely important tool when growing your business. Are you creating new blog entries at regular intervals so readers know what to expect? Are you posting photos on social media at times when your followers are most likely to be online? Are you staying active on all of your social media platforms to keep followers engaged over time? If you go the traditional marketing route with magazine ads, does it accurately embody your unique brand and services offered?
8. Recognize Branding Opportunities and Keep it Consistent
Your brand is more than just your logo. Be aware of how your brand is being perceived holistically: that’s everything from your own appearance to your website design to the look of your photographs to the packaging you use to send prints. At the end of the day, you want potential clients to recognize any and every piece of your business as “you” through consistent and frequent exposure to your brand identity.
9. Be Prepared for Business After the Shoot
Being paid for a shoot is not the end of a business transaction, it can be seen as just the beginning. After all those glorious photos are taken, there are ample opportunities to add value and sell more to a client through prints. It’s way easier for clients to understand the value of print if you have examples they can feel and hold, so stock your studio sample collection with prints on some of your favorite papers, a swatch kit for Richard’s press books (availble in ROES), and print comparisons on different mediums such as canvas vs. fine art vs. press.
Also, picking your favorite prints and gifting them to clients after a shoot is a beautiful, genuine, and emotionally-charged soft-sell to keep you and the experience they had with you on their mind for future opps. Remember: every successful job is another subtle invitation for future shoots.
10. Streamline Your Workflow with an Online Storefront
Now is the time to set up your online storefront! The benefits for you and your client are rooted in efficiency: clients can view photos and order all their prints in one place, and you reap the benefits of print sales without spending tons of time coordinating fulfillment. It's a win-win! There are lots of great options out there, so explore and see what fits your business' needs best. Richard loves Instaproofs for their easy-to-brand storefronts and zero setup fees or monthly fees. Hip hip hooray!
Now that you’ve got the tips, snap to it! You can save 15% on tons of marketing goodies printed with Richard by using promo code 15OFFIN2015 at checkout in ROES now through January 31st, 2015. *Excludes proof prints and albums.