As a successful photographer with over 20 years experience, Sandy Puc knows what it takes to build an efficient and satisfying portrait business. She’s spent several years teaching other photographers how to streamline their workflows and build better businesses. Currently she’s on tour, bringing her digital workflow and creative photography workshops to a city near you. Read on to find valuable tips and a discount code good for $20 off her upcoming seminars.
Getting Started – What tasks do new pro photographers find to be unexpectedly difficult?
Transitioning from a recreational photography to working photography can be a rude awakening, especially when one realizes that only 20% of the time is spent taking pictures. There is a lot more involved in running a business: customer service, marketing, managing the books and doing the editing, retouching and framing. It is tough. Honestly, time management (or lack thereof) makes all the difference. New working photographers should be prepared to wear many hats and be very well organized with their time to keep operating costs low and life manageable. Understand that you can eat an elephant as long as you take it one bite at a time. Don’t let the tasks overwhelm you.
Life is not about balance, it is about choice and sacrifice. If you focus on what you really want and those you love, you will find happiness and peace.
What photo business problem do you help your Tour attendees solve?
The entire workflow process can become really frustrating for photographers. With the fun of the session comes an enormous amount of work that can easily bog down even the most dedicated photographer. I think that this is the biggest concern that attendees are facing, and one that is very common for up-and-coming photographers as well as seasoned professionals. There are many ways to tackle this problem but we’ll present one good, solid workflow program that helps photographers balance their workload and save tons of time and money while getting better results. To me, time at work is time away from the people that you love.
Advice – With the technological and business aspects of photography changing so rapidly what tools or styles should professionals keep an eye on?
I don’t see one style of photography outshining the rest at this time, but I do see that new technology is opening up a world of possibilities for photographers to focus on whatever their niche and style may be. Video capture, in particular, is a new evolution of photography. Photographers who incorporate it into their work will put themselves on the leading edge.
Clients are becoming more comfortable with digital photography so we need to evolve ahead of them. I think it’s not so much about what is popular as it is about adjusting to client demand and being able to give them something unique that they can’t do themselves.
Personally, I enjoy is finding new and creative ways to see the world. I recently took a trip to Thailand and forced myself to use only Lensbaby lenses. It was so much fun to try new techniques and not just do what I have always done. I learned a lot on that trip. I found that separating yourself and being unique means constantly stepping out of your comfort zone.
Nostalgia Time- Tell us about your first camera.
I remember my first professional camera very well. It was a Mamiya RB67. It was huge and I felt so cool holding it! The chunky feel of it in my hands, the clunk of the shutter and the sound every shot made was fascinating. I would hike around the park, positive that everyone was looking at the “professional photographer”. I think I glowed from the inside out. I used that camera for the first 13 years of my career and I’ll always be grateful that I learned on film. Back then I had 30 shots per session and that was it. It helped me feel the moment and not just over-shoot to try to get it.
We switched to digital very early on. This put us on the bleeding edge but far ahead of our competition; it was exciting to be doing things that others only dreamed about. It has been a challenge to stay ahead of the curve but we embrace it. What other career offers you the chance to learn, love and enjoy everything everyday? I love what I do and after 24 years I am still as passionate as the day I started.
My only regret was selling my Mamiya RB67. I miss her!
Sign up for Sandy Puc’s next workshop and save $20 with coupon code LNS12.
Find more tips for creative success: Laura Brunow Miner shares how she stays motivated and Zach Prez offers great topics for your photography blog along with tactics for showing up in Google searches.