March 2018 Q&A - Kirstie Marie Photography Mentorship

March 2018 Q&A

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What tech specs do you recommend for an operating system to do your photography and videography edits on?

By no means am I qualified to answer this question… but the MacBook Pro I just bought has 2.6GHz Intel Core i7 with 16GB memory, if that helps!

What do you use for photo storage? Online, physical, or both?

My film negatives are stored physically and the scans are online in two locations.

Digital images are stored on two external hard drives, BackBlaze, and a cloud storage system.

How far out do you book clients? Do you have a waiting list or do you book however far in advance the client wants?

Generally, I have no problem booking 6 or so months ahead, but this really depends on my life situation at the time! I may restrict my calendar due to personal reasons and open up only one season at a time when I have more clarity.

What is your number one source of lead generations?

Word of mouth referrals (people finding me because a friend/barn mate booked)

How do you keep clients organized with out of state sessions (or anywhere you have to travel to); is it first come first serve or do you try to fit everyone in if you can only be in the certain state/city for a certain period of time?

People generally send me emails or messages asking me if I will be in a particular city and I keep a record of the interest in each place. When I feel there is enough interest (or someone has a deadline), I will send an email to the others in the area who expressed an interest. Typically, my trip fills from doing this but if there are still spots I will post about it on my email newsletter and Instagram.

You mentioned using Florabella actions. Mind sharing which you use and for what type of setting?

I have the Florabella Retouch & Makeover actions that I use sparingly when I need to do some retouching!

Advice for generating bookings?

First, it is important to know who you are, what you offer, and why. Next, you need to know who you are trying to reach. Then, you can focus on a marketing message to bridge who you are with who you are trying to help. You want to get in front of your audience in every way possible to create a brand awareness: be everywhere they are.

How do you find a work life balance?

You are asking the wrong person 🙂

How do you handle harsh lighting?

In harsh light, I look for any shade I can get and lead my subjects right to the edge of it. I would recommend that you practice this a lot — maybe even taking 10 minutes worth of pictures in full sun every afternoon! There have been a few occasions where I’ve shot from sun rise all the way past high noon. Those long shoots are helpful in learning how to move with the light and adjust as it slowly changes!

Do you free edit or use a preset, or do you use a preset and then free edit after the preset has been used?

I do not use presets. I edit each photograph individually.

What are your most favorite preset companies?

I own all of the Mastin Labs presets and feel that they taught me a lot about how to edit in Light Room.

If you got to create the ultimate shoot what would it be like? I.e. location, horses, people, time of day, props etc.

I am working on my dream shoot right now 🙂 Stay tuned later this year…

Working with horses brings more risk than lets say a wedding photographer. What kind of liability insurance do you recommend for equine photographers? Would regular photography business insurance be enough?

First, you need to protect your business with a contract that is specific for equine photography.

Second, you need to make sure that your insurance policy covers horses. I was turned down by a handful of insurance companies before finding someone who would cover me with general liability insurance!

Are you a sole proprietor or LLC? Which do you recommend for photographers starting a new business?

My business is registered as an LLC. There are pros and cons to both sole props and LLC’s, so I would work with your lawyer and/or accountant to decide on a structure that will best suit your needs!

Is your contract for commercial/stock photos different than portraits?

Yes! I have a different contract for every type of session. You can look at all sorts of contract templates here. Personally, I use the equine photography, coaching, independent contractor, model release, stock/commercial, print release, and portrait contracts.

Do you have a specific way you keep track during a session if you are doing multiple subjects (sisters, friends, etc…) So as to make sure you get some similar for cohesive purposes and some varied but still equal amounts of images? I’ve run into this issue before where I get home and realize I shot more of one subject than another or more variety. Any tricks for this?

An assistant! First, I make sure my assistant knows exactly what we need to shoot. Before the session, I will break it all up so we have an idea (I need to spend 10 minutes shooting this, then 20 shooting this) and my assistant keeps me on track. Otherwise, I get really lost in the moment shooting!

If there are a LOT of things that need to be photographed, then an itinerary is written beforehand that I follow.

Do you say anything to clients when they alter your photos with social media filters or do you just let it go. 

My contract forbids any alterations to the images, but I have never enforced it. I always let it go, “like” the picture, and leave a comment. My client is enjoying their images and posting for the world to see! That is amazing and my best source of referrals!

How do you quote travel expenses for clients? Say 3.5 hours drive time away and then one out of state.

 I quote travel expenses as a flat rate so that I can book my own accommodations. In general, I charge $350-500 depending on how far away it is and how many people sign up. I require 3+ people to make a trip happen. Alternatively, you could total the expenses (airfare, rental cars, gas, food, hotels, etc) and split the actual charges among clients after the event. Personally, I like to have a set number that is charged up front so my clients aren’t surprised by any fees. Any additional fees (such as a hotel upgrade or a fancy dinner) are then my responsibility and not theirs.

How do you get the beautiful colors of your sunset silhouette shots? How do you set up those photos?

First, I need an amazing sunset. Second, I need a flat horizon so that I can get my subjects above the horizon line! This requires me getting low on the ground to place my horse and rider up in the sky. I have a high shutter speed to make sure I expose for the sky. While editing, I bring down blacks quite a bit and play with the warmth and tint to enhance the colors.

Have more questions? I offer Skype sessions if you want to chat!

Fill out the contact form on the home page to book.

Kirstie jones

fine art equine photographer

A lifetime horse enthusiast, the Texas-based equine photographer has experienced first-hand the immeasurable bond between a horse and a girl. She strives to capture that special relationship for each and every client.

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