Terri Baskin, a Virginia-based international wedding photographer, discusses the role legacy played in becoming a wedding photographer, the importance of having a strong why, and how to find your niche in a saturated market.
1:47 Terri shares how she started her photography business
5:41 Her dad’s influence on her photography, the importance of legacy, and her ‘why’
10:05 Booking three weddings, and how that led to more…
12:23 Terri discusses when she started to book clients consistently
15:21 How she educates and builds trust with her clients
18:40 Terri’s niche and how she gets clients within that niche
25:49 Figuring out your niche
28:23 Saying ‘no’ – Telling prospective clients that they are not a good fit.
30:56 Using a website to qualify people before the inquiry
Terri Baskin is a Virginia-based international wedding photographer whose style is authentic, romantic and fun. Terri genuinely approaches each client relationship seeking to understand their uniqueness and their love story. Terri connects with couples who value their authenticity yet trusts her creative process. Like many photographers, Terri started her photography business she was working full time. Terri has maintained a full-time job while effectively growing her business primarily though referrals.Terri has been fortunate enough to share experiences at the WeSpeak Conference, Black Bride Bridal Brunch, The Bridal Space Podcasts and Showit United 2017.
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Terri: 00:07 being able to say no to the wrong client for the right clients, so that’s probably been the biggest. If I had to offer like a piece of advice to anybody know your client, know who’s not your client, it’d be OK saying no.
Davey: 00:24 Welcome to the brands that live show where we help small businesses build their brands and find more clients. I’m your host, Davey Jones. And today we’re chatting with Terri Baskin of Terri Baskin photography. Terri is an international wedding photographer out of Virginia and today she’s chatting about how to find your niche within a saturated market.
Davey: 00:47 All right Terry, I think we met for the first time at show united this past year. I had the pleasure of hearing you give a five minute fuel and it was one of those where, I mean it’s only, it’s only five minutes long, but a lot of people were talking about it afterwards and a lot of people mentioned how good of a job you did. And so as I was brainstorming for the podcast you came to mind immediately. Krista was actually was the one that said you need to ask Terri, you know, she did such a great job at show-it united and you have such a, such a cool story. And since then we’ve had the pleasure of working on your website, which I’m excited to talk a little bit today as well. So, uh, can you just give us some background on how you get started? You’re a photographer, you’re based in Fredericksburg, so you mostly work in Virginia, Maryland and DC. Can you give us some background on how you got started?
Terri: 01:47 Yeah, so I consider myself like a DMV or DC, Maryland, Virginia wedding photographer. I live in Fredericksburg, but it’s so funny because I rarely shoot weddings in Fredericksburg. I’m more in the northern Virginia DC market. Um, but yeah, so I’m going into my sixth year of shooting weddings.
Davey: 01:47 Congratulations.
Terri: 02:11 Yeah. So, the way that I actually fell into weddings was on accident. So I finished Grad school at Vcu, Virginia Commonwealth University, Antibiotic Camera as my graduation gift. And so I grew up, my dad was a photographer when I grew up, like old school days. He had his dark room. But the funny thing is film is film is back.
Davey: 02:33 Yeah we shoot a little bit of film ourselves.
Terri: 02:35 Yeah and so, um, so basically when I bought my camera, when I graduated in December, I went home for the holidays and he took me out and we just basically learned like, you know, composition, different rules of photography, how to anticipate moments, those things, but just general, like everyday life. And so there comes a time when I get back to Virginia where I’m like, OK, now I’m going to try this for myself. And so I asked a friend if I can take some maternity pictures for her. The pictures are horrible when I look back at them, but I thought at the time they weren’t so bad. And so she posted the pictures on facebook and so of course somebody asked her who took her photos, um, because of course I wasn’t looking for like photography credit or anything like that. So a girlfriend of hers, um, as you know, who took her photos and asked for my information and so that one maternity session turned into another maternity session, I was like, OK, I think I like this. I’m still trying to learn the basics, lighting and composition and all of that stuff. Posing. Um, and then she posted the photos on facebook and so from there, her friend who had just gotten engaged over the holidays, asks who took the photos and she gave him my contact information. So her girlfriend that was engaged, contacted me and um, asked if I would take her engagement photos, I’m saying sure, of course. Did the photos, and again, I look back at those and I’m cringing.
Davey: 04:14 But I think that everybody does that. That’s the value to just getting started and putting yourself out there, you know,
Terri: 04:19 I didn’t realize how bad they were until I started looking bad. But it’s OK because they gave me a chance, right? They believe in me. They liked it well enough. They liked their photos. And after dinner engagement photos, she basically asked me if I would shoot her wedding. I had not shot a wedding yet, but I had planned on second shooting and assisting later that year, but her wedding happened to me before, had an opportunity to assist a second shoot. So what I did was, um, I accepted it. Um, and then my dad, I actually had him come as my second shooter, so I was like, OK, my dad knows how weddings work even though he shot weddings a long time ago. So he knew, you know, kind of like the important things, the important parts of his wedding. So he came along with me and of course weddings have changed a lot more now since the time he did, you know, he wasn’t into like the prep, the full on like reception dancing and all of that. Um, so that was a long day for him.
Davey: 05:20 That was probably pretty special for him to be able to come out and assist you.
Terri: 05:24 So he brags now about like just, you know, watching my photography career, like the journey. That’s a proud moment for him. But yeah. So my first three weddings, I actually booked three weddings that first year he was my second shooter. And so that’s cool for me and it’s really cool for him.
Davey: 05:41 Oh yeah, for sure. And so what, what kind of photography was he a doing primarily? Uh, you said he did some weddings?
Terri: 05:46 He was, yeah, he was a wedding photographer in North Carolina and he also did some portraits so he had an in home studio, so I would meet, you know, people that would come to our to have their photos taken. So it was cool. And then he, I would hang out with him. He had a dark room in the house and so I would watch him as he developed the film. So it was really cool.
Davey: 06:07 Yeah, that’s amazing. So were you getting into it as you were growing up or was it something that was always kind of a side interest or hobby or was it really not until college where you were interested in this?
Terri: 06:21 It’s so funny because growing up it sounds cliché, but I was always the friend that had the camera because my dad was a photographer all my life. He always gave me like little cameras, like the little 1-10 millimeter film cameras, or I was always, that friend had the camera. Then I would get my photos developed and show them to my friends. So yeah, it was never really, it was always like a side hobby but never really something that I was actively pursuing. The funny thing is before I moved to Virginia, I lived in Los Angeles, um, and I tried acting so I tried doing all of the in front of the camera stuff. So I did like a couple of like short films and projects and extra work on a few of the TV shows. And then it was later I was like, you know, I really want to be behind the camera and not really in front of it. So, um, yeah. So that’s pretty much it.
Davey: 07:16 That’s incredible. Didn’t know that about you. That’s awesome. So eventually you got back to Virginia and you got into a photography. So how does your dad and this concept of legacy play into your “why” for Photography and what you’re doing now.
Terri: 07:37 So I think for me it was important to remember why I became a photographer and it’s basically when I would look back at old photo albums once I started shooting weddings, I was home for a visit and I went back and looked at some of his older photo albums, old photo albums where you slide the photos and to, you know, the sleeve, the plastic sleeve. And so from there I was really looking at what he captured and it was more, um, moments, the special moments, the motion, what made you feel connected to the photos. And I realized that for me, those photos spoke the most to me. I love the pretty, I love the every wedding, but the photos that really speak to me are the ones that have like the moments and the emotion and the pure joy, whether that’s laughter or tears, um, of a wedding day. So incorporating into my why is telling those authentic moments. I have couples from a variety of backgrounds. So that’s what I love about my business is that I get to meet so many diverse couples, um, multi, so many ethnicities, so many cultures. And so, um, being able to tell their story the way that their story is versus me trying to make it my story is really what’s important to me. And so that’s, that’s my “why” just telling authentic stories.
Davey: 09:03 Yeah, that’s awesome. That’s so cool that you can go back and you look at those photos that, uh, your dad took years and years ago. As Krista and I are expecting our first first kid that’s just something that’s been top of mind for us recently going back and finding old pictures of, uh, of my mom and dad and our parents when they were expecting us, you know. And I’m just so thankful that those pictures exist. So to be able to do that for others is great. And I think sometimes we forget that in the daily hustle and grind of our businesses that what we do is making a difference, you know, that we have an opportunity in even the smallest of ways or smallest of details to impact somebody else’s legacy.
Terri: 09:51 Yeah I mean that’s essentially let’s start in their legacy, right? Once they get married, well, of course you know the dating, but you’re official start because once they get married. So for them to be able to look back and relive that moment? that’s special for me. So yeah.
Davey: 10:05 Yeah. So I want to go back to those first three weddings that you shot. And was it really just a compound of it starting with the maternity sessions friend posting on facebook, other friends asking, Hey, who was your photographer? Was it the same thing with the weddings? Like you shot the first wedding, those photos up on facebook and then somebody else asked?
Terri: 10:23 Yeah. So by that point I had already designed a website. It was, um, you know, just something to put up. I think it was the link to your like smug Mug or something. So anyway, it was linked to an online gallery where you can see the photos, but I was really proud of my work, so I was posting the photos on facebook and then the couples were posting them as well. So one just pretty much led to another. So it’s kind of cool the way that it happened. It was almost like organic. I didn’t really go out looking for weddings to shoot. They just kind of came my way. It’s Kinda cool.
Davey: 10:59 Yeah. But at the same time you did, you did put yourself out there.
Terri: 11:03 I did, yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Davey: 11:06 And I think there’s value in that, uh, you know, especially I think some people get nervous because they’re like, oh, I could do better than this, you know, like I can knowing they can do, you know, take better pictures and this and that, but so they decided not to. But when you don’t put yourself out there, right then..
Terri: 11:21 no one knows that you’re that are even out there, that you exist. And I think I realized, I knew I wanted to get better with it once I realized, OK, I really liked doing this and I want it to get better. I just didn’t realize how far I had to go. Like I put those pictures up because I was proud of them. Now look back and I’m like, yeah, OK, I see all the errors. All the mistakes. But they liked the photos so that, that worked out.
Davey: 11:48 Oh yeah absolutely. And I think, I think we’re always in that state, right? I mean, I know even Krista was saying the the other day and just even in design, you know, and talking about a different improvements she’s made over the, over the course of the last year. She says that every year and we say that every, you know, so often about our work. So it’s just something that we’re always working through. But I think realizing that and still putting yourself out there, um, you know, just getting out there and doing it. But when did you start a booking weddings consistently.
Terri: 12:23 So I’m pretty much the following year, so what I did was, so I did the three weddings, I’m with my dad and then I also started second shooting and I was able to second shoot for a photographer that allowed me to also share the work of, of his clients on my website. So I was able to use those photos as well to basically build up my portfolio. So I’m very grateful that he gave me that opportunity. And so from there just still putting myself out there and still posting work and allowed other people to find me. So yeah, it was basically through my website and at the time through facebook.
Davey: 13:03 Yeah. And I think that’s relatively rare to have a primary photographer let the second share their work. But that’s the same thing happened for Krista. Um, when she was getting started in photography, the people that she’s seconded for, they allowed her to share the work that she shot on her website. And I think any second opportunity, anytime you can assist somebody is a, a good learning opportunity.
Terri: 13:30 Absolutely. You learn so much.
Davey: 13:31 But that’s huge for your portfolio and being able to show that you’re out there and busy and uh, and shooting your own work. So really it was after that that you started getting inquiries consistently?
Terri: 13:43 Yes. After that they started getting them pretty consistently.
Davey: 13:48 So at what point though did you feel like, OK–I’ve hit a rhythm, this is the kind of client that I like working with. How did you sort all that out?
Terri: 14:00 Yeah, I was just trying to do anything to please the client to make them happy, give them whatever they wanted. If that meant working really long days on a wedding, working over in the amount of times. That was when I was like, Oh yeah, I’ll stay there the entire day, all day wedding photography that came back to bite me.
Davey: 14:17 I think everybody goes through that phase where they have like an all day package where they just said, yeah, you know, for this amount of money…. and there’s really no amount of money that’s going to, that makes me want to be there literally all day,
Terri: 14:30 all day long! I literally learned that the hard way. I don’t do all day coverage anymore. Um, but yeah, so I think, uh, yeah, the first probably two and a half years I was really just trying to still build my portfolio, still trying to book weddings that I felt fit my fit, what brand I wanted to achieve. So at that point it was more of the, uh, I wasn’t high and I was trying to be more like middle, like middle high or middle to high end clients. And so I was still trying to make sure I got everything I needed. Plus giving them what they wanted. And so from there I was able to just learn from my mistakes what to do, what not to do. Still after every wedding, I think I learned a little something and was able to tweak my business and my offerings based on what I learned.
Davey: 15:21 So how did you communicate that, that kind of stuff to clients because that can be difficult. Like client sends you a photo on pinterest and it’s like I can’t get myself to take that picture of you, you know, this is not the picture that you’re going to treasure 20 years from now. How did you even go about communicating to clients to make those changes in your business?
Terri: 15:43 I finally started. So of course, um, I think everybody’s probably seen like the dreaded photo of you, like no photo in particular, but a photo you’re like, yeah, I don’t really want to do that. So I finally have gotten to the point where I tell my clients like, just trust me. And one of the ways that I’ve really built trust with my clients, which I think probably many photographers do now is they, they offer in the engagement session as a part of the wedding package. Well, I um, started offering the engagement session and from there I was able to build trust with the client because they were able to see– one, we were able to get to know each other better and then they were able to see my style and then see my ideas as well. And I think that helped. Um, so that way when it came to the wedding day, if they like say the bridal party was throwing out ideas. Or family members, my clients will say, don’t worry, you know, Terry has it. She’s good, she’s good, she’s fine. So just building trust with the bride and the groom, helped the other family members and bridal party trust me because the clients basically spoke up on my behalf so I didn’t find myself and I don’t find myself actually anymore in those type of situations where I get tons of pinterest pictures.
Davey: 17:03 I think if you can find a way to show your clients, you know, even before the big event, if you can offer value early on, um, they’re going to question, you lessen. The great thing about something like engagement photography’s because, and we do something similar where we include the engagement session into pretty much any wedding collection, is that we found that family and bridal party, since they’ve probably seen the engagement photos beforehand, we have much less in the way of a mother of the bride coming up and saying, Hey, make sure you get the X, or hey, could you do this photo for us? Because they’ve seen the pictures. They like the pictures and so they just trust that, um, we’ll do a good job with, uh, with the wedding. And that really did it makes it, makes a huge difference, right?
Terri: 17:03 Yes. Yeah.
Davey: 17:49 And I think anytime you’re repeatedly saying to yourself, Oh man, I wish this was different, you know, I wish the client wouldn’t behave this way. There’s probably a change like you made that, you know, that can educate the clients. I think early on.
Terri: 18:05 Yeah simply educating the clients, simply that just. Yeah.
Davey: 18:08 Yeah. And I think early on it’s difficult especially because it’s our job. We do weddings is dozens of times a year. We’ve been doing… hundreds of weddings now. So, it’s easy for us to forget that for clients this is most likely their first time getting married. They don’t know. They’ve maybe been to other weddings, they maybe have a couple of friends who’ve gotten married. Um, but they just don’t know, you know, so I’m taking opportunities to educate them along the way. It goes a long way.
Terri: 18:38 Yeah, absolutely. That’s what I found as well.
Davey: 18:40 So what would you consider your niche? Yeah, I mean, one thing that we hear from photographers, and I think this is true of most industries where people are getting into it and they just feel like it’s super saturated and they’re like, oh, there’s so many photographers in my market. And I think that that’s probably true of any market. It’s certainly true of the, uh, of the Delaware, Maryland, Virginia area. So what would you consider your niche? How did you get there, you know, and uh, and how do you stand out in a market like that?
Terri: 19:11 Yeah, so I’m niche, I guess in terms of within weddings is, like I mentioned earlier, diverse clients and so I tend to shoot a lot of a multi-ethnic weddings multicultural weddings and then just regular weddings as well. But I think my niche is, I tend to attract the couple that has the pretty details they want a pretty wedding, but then they also want all the fun moments of that wedding so their wedding isn’t so scripted to where I can get fun moments and have fun with them. So I like to have fun with my couples. I like to joke around with her family. So that’s one of the ways I just pour my personality into the day. I love joking with relatives, especially during family formals just to kind of lighten the mood. Sometimes at that point, people are ready to eat or they want to speed everything along and so I just really like to have fun with them, but in terms of my niche, I think it’s just couples that really have diverse backgrounds. They just see themselves in my work and a couple that really want to feel like if someone missed their wedding, that they can look at the photos and feel like they were there.
Davey: 20:44 And what’s the primary way that you get inquiries and bookings from other couples who are like that?
Terri: 20:53 My primary weight used to be Google. I used to blog way more consistently than I do now. And so a lot of my seo images pop up through google searches and they still do so some couples find me that way. But my primary, our for referral source now is um, previous clients. So previous clients find me from their friends that got married. I have a lot of clients. I think this year most of my clients were referrals or they attended weddings that I shot or their friends refer them to me. Um, and then the secondary or the second way that people find me is instagram.
Davey: 21:36 OK, wow. So instagram is major. I’ve always tended to be… well.. I feel like I have a love hate relationship with instagram. At one point I’m going to have to do a whole episode where somebody defends Instagram to me. But uh, but that’s awesome. So instagram is one of your main referrals. Uh, yeah, areas of traffic. And when you say referrals, are you, do you think it’s mostly from you know, planners or from other vendors or from past clients or people who attended the wedding?
Terri: 22:08 It’s actually all of the above. Most of my referrals come from previous clients, like their friends or family members that are getting married or people that attended a wedding where I was shooting. And then I do get a lot of referrals from planners, so working with their clients as well. Previous planners that I’m working with so they have their, sort of like their favorites are there, their vendors that they refer often. And so having great working relationships with them has allowed me to, um, to get referrals from them as well.
Davey: 22:43 So I imagine that– first of all showing up high in Google is important. Having an audience that you know, and a presence on social media is important as well. All of those are great sources of traffic. Word of mouth though I think is one of the highest converting sources of traffic because we trust other people, especially those people that we’re close with. And so I imagine that standing out in a competitive market really requires not only having past clients singing your praises, but planners as well. How did you go about developing that relationship with planners? You know, like, did you do anything, um, to improve that relationship? Uh, just so that planners we’re referring you or other vendors in general?
Terri: 23:27 Yeah. So, you know, the funny thing is, uh, with the relationships I’ve developed with planners, it was important for me to communicate with them early on in the process for the clients that we were sharing, um, and to let them know how much time I need it for photography and then showing up on the wedding day and just going above and beyond. So I try and show up to every wedding at least 30 minutes early. Just to kind of get in my groove and to get warmed up and then I’m just making sure I am getting everything that the couple wants in terms of photography and then still also getting shots that the planners, the florist, the dress designer that other people can use as well. And I think the easiest way to build our relationship is them images after the wedding because now they have something that they can use to market their businesses as well. And then of course they know, OK, if I’m ready for my next client to Terry, I know I’ll get images from that wedding that I can continue to use to grow my business. So yeah, that’s, it’s easy. But I didn’t realize how often it does not happen.
Davey: 24:32 No. Yeah. And that’s the crazy part is it does seem like it’s something that would be kind of obvious, right? But so many people don’t do that and so many people rely on, uh, the photographer for marketing collateral for their businesses. So I think photographers especially, it’s maybe a little bit easier for them than some other vendors, uh, to build those relationships because it’s just if you serve them well, if you take take pictures of the things that they’re providing for the wedding and send them those images, that kind of stuff really does go a long way.
Terri: 25:02 It does. And it’s actually a win win because if they know, if they know they’re getting professional images from me, I don’t have to worry about them trying to take their own photos and being in the way.
Davey: 25:13 Yeah, for sure. Um, so I mean I think that’s great advice. So going back to your niche and shooting, so like, you know, different, multinational, different ethnicities, uh, this kind of bride and groom, um, that really value good photography but at the same time aren’t super stiff or scripted, want to enjoy the day with their, with their friends and family. Um, how long did it take you to figure out, OK, this is my niche, this is really the kind of client that I want to work with and I want to go after. What did that process look like?
Terri: 25:49 So for me, before I book any client, I need to meet with them. Whether it’s in person or via skype or telephone. So what I do is I use my contact form on my website is pretty much my first filter. And some of the things I want to know about them are, you know, how they met or what their love story is. I also want to know if they’re working with the planner because planners tend to help my day go a little bit easier, a lot easier. I take that back. Um, and then also just hearing how they met. So if they’re willing to share with me the details of their love story, it helps me get to know them a little bit better. But if they, um, if someone were to fill out my website and just leave that part blank, I want to know, OK, obviously they may be looking at multiple photographers, which is fine if they’re doing their research. But I really want to know if we connect on the phone or, you know, prior to meeting in person for an engagement session or prior to them booking me. And so early in my business. I was so afraid of saying no to the wrong client. I’ve booked clients before, clients before, um, that we’re not a good fit. And I knew they were not a good fit before the wedding day. I went ahead and booked them in any way because I was afraid of saying no, I wanted the booking so badly that I took clients that were, were not right for me and by not right for me, I just simply mean when they were either very demanding or they didn’t trust me as the photographer or they gave me that long list of every photo to take. And so now meeting with them, seeing, you know, how they tell their story, I’m talking on the phone or a skype meeting, it really gives me a chance to know, do I feel like they will trust me on their wedding day? And if not, I have gotten way more comfortable telling people unfortunately I’m not available for your day. I have told clients before that I didn’t think we were a good fit and I would send referrals. It rarely goes over well. So I had to be OK with that. But at the end of the day, it actually being able to say no to the wrong client, left me available for the right client. And so that’s probably been the biggest–If I had to offer like a piece of advice to anybody I would say know your client, know who’s not your client and be OK with saying no, they’re not your client.
Davey: 28:23 I think for anybody it will take a little while to figure that out, maybe it takes that two years where you kind of have to sort that out. But I would agree. And I think like when a client, when it doesn’t go over well, like if you are up front with a client and you’re like, hey, I don’t, yeah, I don’t think this is a good fit. And they do not act appropriately. It’s, it’s just, it’s just confirmation that they weren’t probably the right fit, you know? And that’s ok. You know. And so I think, um, when we get scared to give up a client, what we’re doing is just delaying this. So it’s going to be uncomfortable for, you know, maybe maybe a couple minutes to tell somebody, hey, this isn’t a good fit, but it’s going to be uncomfortable for eight plus hours and all the before and after if you just delay, you know, if you just go through with it and especially for you and I’m talking to, you know, as we talked about staying out in a competitive or say saturated a market, you get so many referrals from past clients that you don’t want referrals from clients that aren’t a good fit and you don’t want, to run the risk of that client realizing, OK, yeah, actually she wasn’t a good fit and not giving you that referral. So there’s value in doing, you know exactly what you do, which is uh, just kind of sucking it up and telling people, hey, this isn’t, you know, there’s, there’s a better fit out there for you.
Terri: 29:50 It’s a hard conversation. I’ve gotten better with it. Um, well yeah. In the beginning it was very hard and so now, you know, anytime I cannot take a client, whether they’re not a good fit or whether or not I’m book I refer them to someone I think would be a good fit for them. So that way I don’t leave them hanging. They have someone else they can research and decide if they want to work with them.
Davey: 30:12 yeah, for sure. And you’re still serving them well by doing that. You’re connecting with somebody even if they don’t know it–you’re connecting it with somebody who they’re going to probably connect with a little bit more, which is totally OK. So anything else in terms of, you know, finding your niche and standing out in a competitive market that you want to share?
Terri: 30:32 Yeah. So I, so as you mentioned, I’ve been working with Krista on my website revamp. I really think that my website has been–I’ve seen conversations where people are asking, are websites still necessary and gosh, heck yeah. I think so.
Davey: 30:32 haha, we would agree!
Terri: 30:56 haha oh well yeah, of course. But if you’re relying solely on social media then what happens if that goes down or I want, you know, if someone finds you on social media, I want that to be their first introduction to me in my work, but then I want them to be able to go to my website and learn more about me. So I’m Krista has been helping me or helped me with my revamped website in more of the story that I’m telling on my website now is about the legacy I’m including more about my dad and how he influenced my photography and now I’m trying to just tell more of me so that way when a client is looking through my website and they’re looking through my images, if they can’t see themselves in my images, then hopefully, hopefully they, they won’t contact me if they feel like they’re going to have to change my style of photography, um, to fit their needs and hopefully they’ll see through the website that I’m, you know, launching that it’s not a good fit for them. And then they’ll see if they can find something somewhere else. So I feel like being more transparent about me, my background, what I love about photography and then my philosophy on I’m shooting weddings will help really. I’m not happy where I don’t have to have that conversation.
Davey: 32:15 Sure, sure. Yeah. You’re qualifying people even before they contact you. And I think what you said, you know, I see that conversation occasionally to about websites and I think what you said is so true. Like what happens if a social channel goes down I see, or the algorithms, right? Things change all the time. And I think that your website is kind of like your home. It’s an asset that for the most part kind of like an email list and I talked about email lists a lot, a lot as well because it’s an asset that you own and the different channels like social media and even even search engines and things like that, they’re different roads to your house. The more you have the better, you know. So it’s good to show up in those places. I’m not talking about focusing on your website at the expense of social media, but at the end of the day, if facebook, and I know it’s kind of, I don’t know what will eventually unseat facebook. It’s, it’s hard to even fathom that. But let’s say it goes down and that was your, that’s where you focused your, the entirety of your efforts. Now you’re left with really nothing, you know, because you don’t own that asset. Um, so they can change the algorithms, they can change what your business page it looks like. Um, without you ever agreeing to it. So I would totally agree with that. So going back to your website, how did you know that you were ready for any website?
Terri: 33:35 Um, ah Gosh, I don’t know. I feel like as my brand has evolved I wanted more…. I felt like more of my ideal client would be attracted to the new website. So, and that’s simply some of the styling. I get really a stylish couples who really want clean images and they dress up for their engagement photos. They have really nice wedding details, really pretty wedding. So I really just wanted the brand to evolve from what I had. Before it was pretty, it was pretty, but I wanted more of was pretty but stylish, but also more of me and more emotion so that way they’re connecting on my website on a couple of different ways. They see the style. So that came with changing some of the fonts. Um, they see the emotion. I really looked for the images that really pulled at my emotion. So hopefully that’s what attracts them and then they can see more of me and they can feel like they get to know me. I never want to show up on a wedding day and feel like I’m just there to take the photos. I want to have a relationship with my clients. And then the, again, that helps with trust. And so I feel like the more that I can pour me into my website and the more that I can show my uniqueness, which I feel like help set me apart, the more that they feel like they know me and that we’re friends is really what allows them to talk about me to their friends. So yeah, so I just think it was just an evolution of where I wanted to go with my work and how I saw more and more, more of my clients, although different still similar, like in style, still similar in what they wanted from their photos. So yeah.
Davey: 35:24 And did you have a customer design before this one?
Terri: 35:27 Um, I had a template before this one that I just changed to fit me.
Davey: 35:33 And it looked good. I think as far as templates go, you did a good job with that. Yeah. But one thing that I want to point out too is, um, I think sometimes when people, we talked to people who are just getting started in business and they’re in that first two year hustle that you were talking about earlier and they want to invest in something that’s more custom, you know, and we always tell them, uh, not that we don’t want to work with people. Of course we want to work with people but we will always tell them, hey, listen, you might be better served by just going with a template, you know, uh, in making that your own. Because there is a process, I think, to figuring out what your brand looks like going through your work, as you mentioned is certainly was true of us, is going to evolve, you know, like you might be thinking you’re shooting your best stuff now, but in four years you know it’s going to be better and that’s OK, but I think there’s a lot of changes in those first couple years of business. So doing what you did. I think there’s a ton of value. You sorted all that out. You’ve designed your own website before. So I think you bring more value to the custom design process in working with Krista because you can communicate, hey, very clearly, this is my couple, you know, this is who I want to work with. Um, this is my brand, you know, and, and being able to articulate that I think goes a long way in the custom design process. So, yeah, I mean it’s just OK to have a template, you know, uh, especially to get started.
Terri: 37:00 And the funny thing is, so when I first started with show it I did a full custom website with them and my website now looks nothing like that custom design. It’s changed so much since then and I’m looking like, OK, if I had to do that all over again, I would totally, I wouldn’t go the custom route to start. I would start with a nice template and then figure out how my work evolves. So yeah. So it’s definitely, yeah, that would be my advice too.
Davey: 37:31 Yeah, for sure. I mean it’s just one of those things that we don’t think a lot’s going to change, you know, but it really does this, we always encourage people in their first couple of years of business, hey, see what you can do with the template and if you need a designer come alongside you and clean some things up. Totally, totally. OK, but don’t go spend eight, $10,000 on a custom design and your first few years of business and that’s going to eventually change. So again, back to your website, what are your favorite parts? As this launches, and I think this episode we’ll be launching right around the time that you’re a website goes live, so people who are learning about you for the first time and going over your website to check you out. Um, what’s your favorite part of the new website? What are you most excited about?
Terri: 38:13 As, you know, it’s so funny. I try to get everything out of my head and I’m give it to Krista and she was able to put some design elements on the website. Then I was like, I would’ve never thought of that. Um, so it was really cool, but I think the favorite part is putting more of the legacy part into the website. So I found an old newspaper clipping of my father holding his camera in front of a backdrop of his work or front of a display of his work. So I’m incorporating that photo into the part of my “why” of the website. So that’s meaningful. So as soon as I show it to him, well can’t wait to show it to him. So he can see it and read it. I read about that part because he knows what influence hat on, on my work with Nancy to see him incorporate it more into the site I think is going to be very special for him and it’s very special for me. So that’s probably right now my most favorite part that’s in my “why” section on my, about me page. And then, um, gosh, the other part is uh, probably my galleries. The way that we’ve laid out my photo galleries is very, it’s still very clean but someone can really look at– I did the tiled galleries on for a lot of my galleries so someone can look at a wedding and really good to get a feel for what they’re getting. Yes. It’s like you can get a snapshot of a wedding day with me and what that looks like.
Davey: 39:45 All right, cool. Well, I’m excited to see it finally launched and we’ll include a link to your new website in the show notes so that anybody listening or watching can, uh, can make sure that they can go in and find that. So as we wrap up here if people want to learn more about you, uh, where, where should they go?
Terri: 40:09 I’m definitely Terry Baskin dot com, my website. I’m on instagram at Terry Baskin and on facebook and Terry Baskin photography. A couple of the other things: I will be speaking at some conferences this year, so I’m excited about that. I’m talking more about frosting helping people decide what their frosting is, um, and making them stand out. So I’ll be at. I’m creative at heart in November. Exciting. I’ve done a couple of online speaking engagements as well that you can find through the website through my website as well. So yeah, I’m excited. I’m back in a place where I want to put myself out there a little bit more. Um, so I was so naïve in the very beginning. Then I had this phase where I was like, hold on, slow down now. I’m like, OK, just go for it.
Davey: 41:01 Yeah, and I bet that I bet that feels good. So that’s awesome. We will also be at creative heart. We’re excited to see their, uh, connect again. And again, for those of you listening, Terry is going to be talking about finding your frosting and so she’s going to be going even into further depth about finding your niche, figuring out what that is and being able to find clients and that you can really serve well that you also really enjoying working with. So take a look at that and if you’re going to creative at heart can’t wait to see you there. So Terry, thank you so much for taking the time this morning and sharing a little bit about your wisdom and your journey and photography for the last six years.
Terri: 41:01 Thanks so much!
Davey: 41:51 Thanks for listening to the Brands that Book podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please consider subscribing to the podcast on iTunes and leaving a review so others are more likely to find it.
Next Episode: Reina Pomeroy – Profit + Serve
Previous Episode: Tyler McCall – Using Instagram to Find Your Next Client
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