SENIOR YEAR MAGAZINE - "Sherry, tell us about your and your business."
SHERRY: "I have always loved the art of photography, way back to when I had my first camera with those little 'box flashes' that rotated on top of your camera.
My first photography passion before I officially began my business was landscape photography. I love to travel and capture a beautiful sunset or sunrise over the mountains or hike to locations where I can create silky waterfalls.
When I first started my photography business I jumped right in to the high school senior genre as my main genre, while also shooting families, engagements, maternity and sports. I have 4 boys (and a husband of 27 years) and I knew I would want to shoot their senior sessions when they became seniors.
Over the years I have really honed in on the seniors and that is what I shoot 95% of the time! When I began my photography business, like most photographers I was shooting natural light, but looking around at my area I wanted my art to stand out so I began learning OCF and traveling to different conferences to invest in learning the skill.
Originally, I was a 'shoot and burn' photographer, but now I have grown to a full IPS structure selling large collections of albums, wall art, prints, metals and more. I also have senior model rep program that plays an important part in my business.
SENIOR YEAR MAGAZINE: What is one of the biggest obstacle you have overcome in your business? What would you say is the key to success?
Sherry: "The biggest obstacle for me to overcome was probably pricing, marketing and getting into the mindset of IPS. If I were just starting a business, one thing I wish I would have known is to take classes, workshops and conferences! In my area, there isn't a big 'comaraderie' of photographers, but I have met wonderful photographers at workshops, conferences etc and networking with them has been a great way to create lasting friendships.
I have learned you have to continually invest in education in some form or another to keep up with the changing times. I am still not a fan of sitting down and marketing, but its a must!
SENIOR YEAR MAGAZINE: What TIPS or recommendations would you give to other photographers in our group?
Sherry: KNOW YOUR VALUE. Quit undercutting yourself and comparing yourself to other photographers. QUIT COMPETING with them as well! There are hundreds, or thousands of seniors, families, etc! No photographer can photograph them all! There is plenty of work for everyone even if your area is 'saturated'.
I for one, only want about 40 seniors per year! With my pricing model, that number is PERFECT for me! Create your brand, create your art to your taste. The biggest compliment is when someone says they picked me because of my lighting and because 'so and so' said their session with you was a wonderful experience!
SENIOR YEAR MAGAZINE: "Thinking back on your business, what are some things you have been afraid of but have conquered and how did you conquer them?"
Sherry: "Pricing was probably my biggest fear of changing, especially when a lot of photography businesses nearby are doing exactly what I did when I first started out... (shooting and burning 100's of EDITED images for a very low cost.)
Beverly's classes helped me navigate those waters and I can still remember the feeling of sitting down with her questionnaire and being really honest about my "Cost of doing business". I knew it was either make a change or just continue burning myself out. I also knew I didn't want a full calendar because I was "cheap", I wanted people to book me because of my work! Another goal was becoming a CPP. Becoming certified was my own personal goal and I reached that goal this past February!"
SENIOR YEAR MAGAZINE: "We were so happy to be able to help you with your business through our Business Classes for photographers. Here's what Sherri posted in our photography FB group shortly after she had completed the PRICING CLASS."
We love testimonials like this one!
I am currently in the beginning stages of getting my first studio ready, but I still see myself shooting mostly on location! I truly believe my business is successful because I walk my own walk and I am only competing with myself.
I believe in continuing education, you have to continually learn as photography is always evolving.
Sherry Janis Photography