FOCUS 2016 » A business conference for serious photographers

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Class Descriptions

Master Class Sessions

Master Class Sessions are held Wednesday April 20 and Thursday April 21 in the Main Room for all participants. All Master Class Sessions are included in your conference registration. Please be sure to read the schedule for class times.

Psychology of Sales – Jenika McDavitt

Most photographers hate the feeling of “selling,” and dread the awkwardness of discussing money in person. During this session, Jenika teaches how to do the bulk of the sales work before you meet the person, so that a sales session feels more like refining final selections that a client is already excited about rather than starting from the beginning with one long pitch. Jenika walks through how to attract clients who come for specific products, the psychology of choice and buying, and how to overcome obstacles before clients have a chance to say ‘no.’
You’ll walk away knowing how to position your offerings for bigger sales, while making clients feel like you simply read their minds and gave them exactly what they wanted.

IPS Sales Demo – David and Whitney Scott

Do you ever think, “If I just had that great studio space…” or “If I only lived in that high income area I could get great sales too”?  The Scott’s are ready to make you rethink all your excuses!  With no studio space, in an area where the average household income is $37,000, David and Whitney are able to have sales averages of $3000, all while spending no money on advertising and doing sales sessions around their dining room table.  With backgrounds in Psychology, the Scott’s will show you ways they utilize principles of psychology and economics in every aspect of their business. From controlling perceptions, to maintaining lifelong clients and creating a high end pricing structure, be prepared to rethink everything you thought you knew about success.  The Scott’s will walk you through a live in-person sales session that will show you great tips and tricks for low-pressure sales that yield desired results.  Don’t miss this encouraging and inspiring session!

Beyond Calculators – Kat Forder

So many business classes focus on the same thing: “you should raise your prices”.  This may be true, but it also doesn’t help you learn why, or how much, or when. And it doesn’t help you figure out what works for YOU and your business. Whether your focus is weddings, families, headshots, babies, birth or newborns,  and whether this is the first time or the 40th time you’ve looked at pricing your products and services, Kat will guide you through the why and how behind pricing and how your products fit with your brand.

We’ll explore beyond the templates and cost calculators and have a look at two main business models that exist today in retail photography and we’ll connect your business numbers to your area’s cost of living and YOUR specific income needs, so you can speak to your clients with confidence about your value, pricing and brand.  You’ll want to bring your laptops, calculators, paper and pencils for this session because we’ll be walking through live examples, and coming up with solid numbers that you can use the very next day for your business.

Mastering Marketing – Rachel Farner

If the phone isn’t ringing then your profits are decreasing and all your effort will be for naught!  During this class, Rachel will guide you through the essentials of luxury service and product based marketing.  Additionally, you will acquire a more in-depth understanding of how to utilize full service photography and in person sales as a competitive advantage in your market.  By implementing these marketing strategies, you will be able to better prepare potential clients for a big sale, before they even book!

Panel Discussion: Launching and Sustaining In Person Sales

Making the leap from a hobbyist to a professional, or from a “all in one” or “shoot and share” business model can feel like a monumental task sometimes.  If you’re ready to make that leap, but feel like maybe you’re not quite ready for the “advanced class”, this session is made just for you.  This session is lead by seasoned pros and new IPS photographers who have recently made the switch to In Person Sales. Their experience (and the hard learned lessons) are available for you to explore and discuss.  Learn about what they wish they knew before they began, and what their plans are for this next year.  As always, there will be plenty of time for your questions!

Break-out Sessions

Break-out Sessions are slightly smaller classes that allow you to customize your learning so you can hear from your preferred speakers and explore topics in a casual setting with peer-to-peer discussion.  You have the choice to attend one of the two Break -out Sessions offered in each time slot.  Each Break-out Session is lead by one of our speakers with key knowledge and experience. Discussion is strongly encouraged; we all have something to bring to the table.  Read the descriptions and schedule carefully and choose your preferences at the registration desk at 8am on April 20th!

Break-out Session 1:

Juggling Act – Rachael Boer

(Recommended for those new to sales and business)Managing both life and business can be a challenge for any entrepreneur. Managing a photography business presents some very specific challenges. At some point along the way you are bound to find yourself caught in a juggling act: trying to manage expansion with how quickly you can add staff, or balancing work with family time, or juggling rapid growth.  Rachael will guide you through some of the options available for busy photographers who need to grow beyond “wearing all the hats” in order to grow their business.

Growing your Business – Timorah Beales

(Recommended for those with some experience with sales and business) You’ve realized that running this business involves more tasks than you have the time (and sometimes desire, talent, or money) to accomplish. You need to grow, and capture a larger portion of your local market.  But you aren’t sure where to begin — do you find a partner?  Do you outsource?  Do you hire staff?  How do you use your business model to your advantage in marketing to new clients?  The right answer isn’t the same for everyone and there are many different successful models, both inside and outside of the photography industry.  Timorah strongly believes collaboration and teaming is crucial to the future of our industry, and to the survival (and sanity) for individual photographers. During this hands on problem solving Break Out Session, she’ll help you find the solution for you.

Break-out Session 2:

Pricing for Boutique Business – Rachael Boer

(Recommended for those new to sales and business) Pricing your products is both an art and a science in retail photography, particularly for a low-volume higher price (boutique) business, because we are selling a luxury product that is in demand because of emotion.  Even once you’ve used the calculators and templates you may still have some challenges.  Use this group discussion setting to generate solutions and ask your questions.

Pricing for Volume Business – Richie Schwartz

(Recommended for those new to sales and business) Pricing your products is both an art and a science in retail photography. It can be particularly difficult to find information on how to price your services and products for high-volume business.  If you have an interest in high-volume portraits for schools, camps, dance studios, church groups, pets, mini sessions and more, you’ll want to attend this!

Break-out Session 3:

Banish Fear from the Salesroom – Dorie Howell

(Recommended for those new to sales and business) Fear is one of our biggest challenges to overcome as a photographer, creative and artist.  Dorie Howell will walk us through her techniques for overcoming fear so you can step into the sales room knowing you are prepared and proceed to help your clients feel comfortable with their purchases.  Dorie will share with you her tips on how to prepare clients for the sales process and how you can enter your sales sessions with confidence and close the sale every time.

Getting Started with IPS – Rachel Farner

(Recommended for those new to sales and business) You’re convinced that In-person Sales is the best business model for you, and you’re ready to make the leap. What comes next? What do you need to have done before you can begin as a full service photographer?  Rachel specializes in guiding photographers who are brand new to IPS, whether you are new, or not, to retail photography.

Break-out Session 4:

 The Sky is the Limit – Sterling Hoffman and Linda Aufenkamp

(Recommended for those with some experience with sales and business)  How often have we heard (or felt) that “people just won’t pay $X in my area”? Regardless of the area you live in “The Sky is the Limit”.  You CAN provide a unique and appealing service and make a good living.  Find out how to make your business stand out and stand apart, all in a cozy conversation setting, with tea.  Sterling and Linda will explore ideas and details for elevating the level of service you provide your clients to make your business,  from the pre-session sales to the white glove reveals.

Pump Up the Volume – Richie Schwartz

(Recommended for those with some experience with sales and business) IPS is a business model that applies to any retail photography business from boutique studios, to on-location photographers. The basic business principles remain the same whether you serve one client a month, or 100 and more! This class is perfect for photographers who are interested in offering school portraits, dance schools, music schools, church groups, mini-sessions and other high volume portrait events. Richie will share his experience as a high-volume specialty pet photography studio.

Add-On Sessions

Arriving in town early? Live locally? Customize your conference with optional add-on learning events on April 19, and meet your colleagues and our speakers before class begins on Wednesday! Each instructor has unique insight to offer during these small, hands-on learning opportunities. From behind the scenes access, to one-on-one problem solving, these sessions ensure you have the time face-to-face with the instructors you want most! Choose your Add-On Sessions in your registration form.

Live Pet Portrait Session with Richie Schwartz

Tuesday April 19 2:00-3:00PM – Richie gives you a behind the scenes peek at photographing pets in an on-location studio set.

Behind the Scenes with David and Whitney Scott

Tuesday April 19 4:00-5:00PM – Go behind the scenes David and Whitney Scott as they photograph a client in downtown DC. See how they work with a client during a portrait session and how they prepare the client for the sale.**This optional session is a companion to the LIVE SALES DEMO David and Whitney will teach on Wednesday April 20th.

Photo Walk with Rachael Boer

Tuesday April 19 6:00-7:00PM – Join Rachael as she tours through the historic and picturesque Georgetown neighborhood of DC. Learn how she interacts with clients to help them enjoy their session. Watch as she finds ways to use the environment around her as unique backgrounds and elements of composition. Shoot along side her as she guides her couples through each pose and location, creating a gallery full of variety and interest, perfect for sales. This Add-On Session is fantastic for those who wish to learn practical on-location lighting.

One-On-One Mentoring Session

Customize your conference with optional add-on mentoring opportunities.  Appointments times are scheduled by each instructor and are the only way to ensure you have one-on-one time with the speaker of your choice!  This is a fantastic opportunity to learn directly from experienced professionals that you may not otherwise be able to see! Each instructor has unique insight to offer during this dedicated time, just for you.  These sessions ensure you have the time face-to-face with the instructors you want most! Prices vary for each instructor and appointment availability is limited! Choose your Mentoring Sessions in your registration form.

Choose your sessions during registration!

Sessions are available with the following speakers:

Rachel Farner

Two 3 hour long mentoring sessions are available.  So Wednesday April 20th from 6-9 and on Thursday April 21, from 6 to 9pm
– 3 hour, one-on-one mentoring session with Rachel Farner
– 15 minute follow-up session in 30 days
– 1 week of email support
– Business review prior to the conference
– Applicable worksheets
– InDesign pricing templates
– Mentoring questionnaires
– Notes from session
– Action plan

Rachael Boer

Rachael has three 1 hour mentoring sessions available. She is especially focused on pricing and business set up during her mentoring sessions.

Richie Schwartz

Richie will focus on answering your questions as it relates to business, pricing and a high volume sales model.


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