The Six-Figure Photographer [Mindset + Wealth Identity Photography Podcast for Creative Entrepreneurs]

[44.] Interview with Celebrity Photographer Janessa Taber on Creating a Luxury Experience for Clients

January 15, 2024 Skye Edmonds
The Six-Figure Photographer [Mindset + Wealth Identity Photography Podcast for Creative Entrepreneurs]
[44.] Interview with Celebrity Photographer Janessa Taber on Creating a Luxury Experience for Clients
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

When the odds stacked against her, Janessa Taber didn't just defy expectations; she shattered them to create a photography empire. As my guest this week, Janessa, a celebrated fine art celebrity photographer, recounts her unique story of evolving from receiving tough criticism to crafting a luxury brand renowned for its maternity, newborn, and child photography.

Navigating the business of photography involves more than just a keen eye for the shot—it's about a tailored client experience that leaves a lasting impression. Janessa and I dissect her pivotal client management system, a cornerstone of her brand's success, offering a behind-the-scenes look at filtering inquiries, conducting proofing sessions, and ensuring each photo shoot surpasses expectations.

Connect with Janessa Online:

Visit Janessa's Website

Visit Janessa's Instagram

Visit Janessa's Facebook Page

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https://tinyurl.com/2hzryzad - If your editing is blah and you admire Skye's editing style or want to watch Skye in action photographing subjects, this collection is for you!

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Be the first to know when my new program is released for six-figure photographer success: https://tinyurl.com/p9mxsy6h

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The Experience Workshop in NOLA (Feb 2025): My final in-person workshop. Almost full! Includes photographer brand photo session https://tinyurl.com/mrxjevbw

WHOOP: my go-to tool wearable training app to heal my nervous system and heal from adrenal fatigue and burnout: http://join.whoop.com/girlheal

Connect with me on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/skye_wohphoto






Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Six Figure Photographer podcast. I'm your host, skye Edmonds. With 20 years of experience in portrait photography and 16 years as a photographer educator, I have a more holistic approach that addresses the whole photographer, starting from the inside out. The purpose of this podcast is to activate women into their wealth identities as the CEO of their business and to expand their income and their impact through mindset, work, nervous system regulation, energetics, somatic connection and business strategies so that they can step into their next level self and become the bold, visible face of their brand. Today I am so excited to bring you my first interview on the podcast Specializing in maternity, newborn and child photo shoots.

Speaker 1:

Visions by Janessa is owned and run by multi-award winning fine art celebrity photographer, janessa Taber. Janessa is located in Gridley, california, with two additional studio locations in Southern California. She will be a guest speaker at my upcoming Secret Garden workshop in Austin, texas, this spring. She will be sharing how she creates an unforgettable experience for her clientele and building a statewide luxury brand. She will also be photographing a model at the workshop so attendees can see first hand her magic. Okay, let's get to the interview. Okay, so we have Janessa today. I'm so glad to have you on the Six Figure Photography Podcast. How are you doing Good? Thank you for having me, absolutely so. We have a connection from the past. Do you care to share how I first came into your world?

Speaker 2:

So when I first started photography in 2000, well, I've been doing photography all my life, but actually started a business when my second daughter was born in 2005 and she was kind of my guinea pig and I'd been doing a lot of photo shoots throughout that year and I decided to apply for the NAP. What's it called NAPCP? Yeah, sky happened. Well, you happened to be one of my idols, I guess you could call it. I just absolutely loved your work. Your lighting is so beautiful and the only way that I can describe your work was just absolutely delicious. It's just so beautiful and you were making such a huge impact on me with inspiration and clearly you knew what you were doing and I just adored your work. I followed your blog and it's just crazy that I've been following you this long and we're actually talking. So when I had applied for the NAPCP, I was basically shot down. They told me that well, it was you. You personally emailed me and rejected me and told me that I needed to work on the technical side of photography my lighting and posing and composition and all of that. You were basically saying you don't have the technical side down, but work on that and maybe come back again later when I was completely bummed out. I was so mad that I actually requested a refund on the application fee and it was a really sad experience for me. But I didn't give up and here we are on a podcast having a conversation about how we met, and I continued to follow you. You didn't like leave a bad taste in my mouth or anything.

Speaker 2:

I continued to follow you and there was a stretch where I had stopped checking in on your work and stuff because I'd been so busy with my own, and then you just popped up out of nowhere and I was like, oh my gosh, it's sky, I think. I friend requested you on Instagram and then we became friends on Facebook and we've just been going back and forth in comments and posts and things like that. That's basically how we met and it's been fun. I enjoy having you as a friend and I'm glad that you pushed me to continue working on the technical side of photography. That is exactly what you called it. I kept going, I didn't stop and I'm thankful for that. Sky, thank you. You're being honest with me and giving me that push that I needed and you're the reason behind that push and I will forever be grateful for that.

Speaker 1:

Look where you are now. I mean, don't you have two studios?

Speaker 2:

I have a couple of studio locations in SoCal and then my main studio is in Gridley, which is about an hour north of Sacramento. I'm in a more rural area but I don't get a lot of support from my small town community because I am a luxury photographer. Most of my clientele is coming from Sacramento or the Bay Area. It's been fun. I absolutely love my studio here in Gridley. It's three blocks from my house so I could walk to work if I wanted, okay.

Speaker 1:

Well, something you just said really made me think. A lot of people get hung up if they don't find clients or support in their small town. I love the idea that you didn't give up and you branched out into a neighboring city. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Speaker 2:

I noticed when I expanded to more the luxury offerings of photography, I wanted to offer more one-on-one one client a day, giving clients more one-on-one time. I had to raise my prices because I'd only be working 16 days a week. If that, I couldn't afford to run a business keeping my old prices Unfortunately. I had to raise them and it really gave me a limited… audience or clientele. So I had to start advertising in the Bay Area. I played with areas of where the clients should be coming from. So I did some basically testing on where most of my clients were coming from. So I noticed when I started advertising in the Bay Area in Sacramento, that most of them were coming from that area. And then demographics too, like you know, ethnicities which ethnicities are more likely to book, and things like that.

Speaker 2:

So I was working, you know, trying to figure out the demographic of what I needed to target. So I realized that I was getting a, you know, a higher clientele from those bigger cities, which is why I branched out to Los Angeles and the Bay Area. I just have much larger clientele coming from those areas than I do where I live Now. The town that I live in has only 7,000 people and the town south of me has more people, like maybe 160,000 people, and that's like the next town, the next biggest town south, but still that's a small population compared to the Bay Area and Sacramento. So advertising in those bigger cities was probably one of the best moves I could have made. One of the bigger cities that I really targeted with advertisement was Los Angeles and I. That was the best move I could have made honestly, and I know that I wouldn't have been able to survive in my small town community had I not done that.

Speaker 1:

One thing I like about your portfolio is not only the image is beautiful, but the diversity of your clientele. Yes, and how can you show that?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yep, I get a lot of diverse clientele. The East Indian community really loves my work and the town south of me is prominently East Indian. It's big farm town. The Sikh temple is there, the Sikh temple. They put on this parade every single year and they come all the way from India for this parade. So it's prominently East Indian and they just absolutely adore my work. They love it. So I do have a wider East Indian clientele.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so I'm excited that we get to meet in person in April.

Speaker 2:

Yes, I'm so excited too, and I've never been to Texas. It's going to be my first time, yeah.

Speaker 1:

For those who don't know listening, Janessa is the guest speaker for my secret garden workshop in Austin, Texas this April, so you can come in here her speak, talk about how she creates client experiences and see a bit of her magic in action. So I'm really excited about that. The location is to die for it is amazing.

Speaker 2:

I'm so, so excited and I can't wait to see you in action working honestly. It's been something I've always wanted to see in person.

Speaker 1:

Oh, you're sweet. I'm going to be dressed down. I'm going to be relaxed, me too, especially in Texas. Like humidity is, like it'll humble you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I can only imagine Okay.

Speaker 1:

So you've gone through like a pretty big stressful event with your, your main studio in NorCal. Care to share a bit about that with us.

Speaker 2:

So I woke up on a Saturday morning to about 150 missed calls. I had a really bad migraine that day, so I was taking a nap and I woke up and said, oh my gosh, there must be a fire. And there was. Oh my God. My husband said why aren't you answering your phone? Everybody's trying to get ahold of you.

Speaker 2:

There was a fire above your studio. The fire sprinklers turned on in your studio and the fire department is literally moving everything out of your studio trying to save what they can. And it's flooded and there's water everywhere. And I went down there and they were not kidding, it was a disaster. It did $300,000 worth of damage to the building alone. I have an 1800 square foot studio and it's pretty much damaged the entire thing. So the insulation had to be ripped out, the ceilings.

Speaker 2:

The tenant that caused the fire was actually directly above my studio, so when her sprinklers turned on, I was getting a ton of water coming down into the walls and everything had to be ripped out, from the floors to the ceilings and the whole HVAC system, everything.

Speaker 2:

And then it turns out that the previous contractors weren't doing their job and none of the repairs were getting finished and seven months later we had to hire new contractors to finish the job, so I had to wait another period of time for insurance to give us the green light and, as of today, I got my studio back, yay yeah. So it's been since June and I had been renting a studio 25 minutes northeast of me, which was a struggle. I was renting this studio by the hour from another photographer and that was really hard because I'm on a time limit and I'm losing a lot of money because by the hour is far more expensive than it is just renting by the month. So that was a huge hardship for me. I took a pretty big hit this year and I luckily had money saved in my business account. I was prepared for the hit, but I did unfortunately take a huge hit. It was a pretty devastating hit too.

Speaker 1:

How did your clients handle this like the transition to going to a different studio?

Speaker 2:

So it was hard for them and it was hard for me mainly because I offer a more luxury experience in this photography studio is not on the luxury end. So I actually did lose some contracts during that time because they either a didn't want to travel or B they didn't want to pay the luxury pricing for a studio that's not set up for a luxury experience. So unfortunately I had some losses from that as well. Some of them were really supportive and showed up and didn't care, and some of them were just kind of put off by the entire situation, which is understandable. I mean, if I were a client, I wouldn't be particularly very happy about it either, but fortunately for me, most of my clients were supportive during that time.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely so. Well, you mentioned the experience, and one thing you're known for and it's definitely evident in your work is the experience that you give your clients. Can you talk a bit about this?

Speaker 2:

no-transcript. Um, so I am very one-on-one with my clients. So from the time that they book, I have a system that I use through JotForm. So it's basically connected to my automated system on social media. Most of my inquiries are coming from social media. So they'll get an automated link basically asking to fill out an inquiry form. So I get their phone number, their email address, their preferred method of contact. They basically say what they want, where they want to shoot, all of that. So they kind of have to jump through hoops to book with me.

Speaker 2:

There's a lot of time wasters in this industry and I just know that one of those time wasters. How do I say this? The JotForm prevents people from wasting my time. So if they're serious, they're going to jump through the hoops to fill out this form and they're going to get in touch with me. So once I receive that form, we know exactly what they want, who they are, what studio they're wanting to do their shoot. So it's got the options of San Francisco or Los Angeles. We'll reach out to them like my receptionist. We'll reach out to them kind of get an idea about them and things like that.

Speaker 2:

So then once they tell us what type of shoot they want. Then I get on the phone with them and we talk about exactly what they want and mainly expressing that the shoot is about them and them only. It's not what I want, it's what they want. So everything's personalized to what they want. And once we figure out what they want, we know how much the shoot's going to cost, what props need to be involved in things like that. So if they're wanting a specific outfit, I can recommend them to pay for it. If they don't want to pay for it and it's not a huge expense for me then I'll just add it on to my collection as an investment. And so from there we do the consultation, we do the contracting and then they come in for their shoot.

Speaker 2:

And the shoot is not rushed, even though I put a time limit on it. I never shoot at a rushed time ever. So if it goes over an hour, I'm completely fine with that. I only shoot one client a day and I feel like a lot of photographers rush their clients and that is the number one thing that is upsetting to clients. I've learned from the past mistakes that they don't like to be rushed. So if they go over 20, 30 minutes or an hour. I'm fine with it. Most likely they're going to upsell if you're working a little extra over time because they're going to have more images, and usually that's how it goes They'll upsell, they'll buy more images After the session. I show them the pictures directly After the session on my computer screen. I do like a quick Adobe RAW edit.

Speaker 2:

And then I show them their images and they pick them out on the spot oh, wow, and they love that and I can kind of give them guidance on what I think looks best. I'll call them really quick. I'll get rid of the ones that I don't think are that great. And then if they have questions like, oh can you do a different face on this person here, face swaps, or can you fix my gown, so we can go over all the things that they have questions about, and it just gives them more confidence in your work and they feel like you can finish the job and that they'll be happy. So we go over all that. I take note of everything that they want and then they leave and they pay their balance and if they buy more images, they pay for those images up front and then I edit them and I send them back and they're usually pretty happy.

Speaker 2:

I've never had an unhappy client. I think I don't even know how long it's been to be honest with you. So I and I like the fact that I'm able to sit with them and go over the images and talk about the things that bother them about their photos, especially women. The women are so hard on themselves, so I feel like I need my arms to look smaller. Well, I can do that, you know, or? Or I have a bald spot in my hair. Can you fix that? So I had a client with Alapetia and I said, yeah, I can fix your hair, like we can fill all that in. That's not a problem, that's easy, especially with AI now. Yeah, I fix everything. So and they leave feeling so confident about how the photo shoot went because you know, I can guarantee that I can fix all these things in Photoshop.

Speaker 2:

So, and in that one on one experience has been a game changer for my business Prior to doing these one on one, you know, consultations and photo proofing together and all of that it's made a huge impact on my reputation. And I just spoke to a client like 20 minutes before our podcast and she said you're like the only one that knows how to pose and direct people and you can fix all of our flaws. So you know, people are talking, people are talking about that and their experiences that they're having and it's it's exploding my name and that makes me really happy. So and I highly recommend that anybody go that route. I mean it's it's kind of like an IPS sort of, you're just not printing the photos ahead of time. You're just doing it, you know, with the digital images and if you're confident that your work looks good enough to show Like, have your lighting down and you're posing and the the calling process and making small adjustments to make the images look good when they're picking them out is crucial. So that would be my advice for the experience Absolutely.

Speaker 1:

And I love working with a confident business owner who, you know, kind of has that confidence in their expertise. And it kind of reminds me of this stupid little story and I don't share the story around my husband because he always gets fussy about it but before a wedding we went to go do dance lessons at this like dance studio and you know our teacher was trying to teach us, you know how to do the waltz for our first dance. And you know I love my husband. He's a great dancer. We were doing our thing and the, the instructor, was like here why don't you come with me, sky, I'll show you. And of course, this guy is confident and he is leading me and I felt like frickin Cinderella, just like dancing on a cloud with confidence in his ability and expertise. And it was just such a difference between you know him and then someone who was learning and wasn't as confident. So you can kind of guess why my husband doesn't like when I tell this story.

Speaker 1:

But that's what I'm thinking of, you know, when you were talking about how your clients are talking, because they love the way you make them feel, you know, not only beautiful and how you're posing them, but that you are, you know, confident in your expertise to be the expert. You know so many photographers. They're looking to their clients to lead the way. So what do you want me to do now? How do you want me to do this? You know, and that's just not what people really want. They want to be.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, they want to be directed. Like. I had a client a few weeks ago and she said I'm so awkward, I don't know, you know how to pose and I'm going to be really awkward because I have no idea what I'm doing, but I'll try my best. And I said oh honey, you do not need to worry about that, because I'm going to direct you through every pose. And she's like oh my gosh, I've never had a photographer ever direct me and posing, and that, to me, was absolutely mind blowing. That's pretty big.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, as a photographer, that is your job. You know to direct your clients. It's so important because they don't know how the lights hitting them. They don't you know, they don't know how they look and some poses don't look good on everybody. If I have a client trying a pose, I will literally say, right there, you know what this pose is not for you. We're not even going to waste our time with it. Let's try another pose, because not every pose works for every body. So, yeah, absolutely. And. But my end goal at the end of the day is to just make the entire journey seamless and enjoyable for my clients Clear communication, understanding their needs during the booking phase, providing detailed information on the session, discussing the creative ideas or, you know, addressing any questions or concerns that they may have, is super important.

Speaker 2:

If they're asking me questions, you know I'm asking them. Do you have any more questions? What are you know? What are you worried about? So, yeah, and then, like I said, the showing of the images in the studio super helpful. And then also feedback always asking for feedback to ensure that they're happy. Super important to ask for feedback always because if they are giving you specific feedback that can improve the way that you're doing business and take it with all seriousness, because that's somebody's opinion and if it's something that you need to adjust, definitely adjust it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. A lot of people have problems with that because they tie their self-worth into their business and so feedback hits them on a personal level. But when you untie your self-worth to your business, that feedback, you could see how valuable it is, because it's a chance to improve and grow, so absolutely.

Speaker 2:

Correct and you know I used to take things to heart too. But now how I deal with it is just kind of stepping outside of my box and putting myself in their shoes as a client and seeing that perspective from a different angle. How would I feel if I was this client?

Speaker 1:

So yeah, absolutely Okay. So what advice would you give to a new photographer?

Speaker 2:

Well, besides, get the technical side down, and I was just going to say that Sky once told me I was a photographer.

Speaker 1:

I was thinking of that. And for those who don't know the NAC, I don't know.

Speaker 2:

It's like the National Association of Children's Photographers.

Speaker 1:

That's it, and I have no idea. I think I was going to be a speaker for them once and then so they had me as a guest judge and so I really didn't have any association with them. I mean, I was a member and I was supposed to speak for them, but I'm glad I was kind to you and yet still truthful.

Speaker 2:

You were kind and very honest and opinionated and that's fine. But look where you are now, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Thank you. So what advice would you give a new photographer, besides technical?

Speaker 2:

So yeah, sky once told me, as a new photographer, I suggest focusing on the fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals understanding your camera settings, mastering composition and experimenting with various lighting conditions. More important, I use artificial lighting most of the time in my studio, which is strobes, and learn the lighting. Lighting is important because there are different types of lighting that you're trying to create a mood with. So, for instance, you know loop lighting that's the most flattering mostly on anybody, including newborns. If you've got a fitness model coming in, you want to understand what type of lighting to use on that person to make their physique stand out. Or if you have a very serious politician coming in for headshots, you want to know what type of lighting to use on them to create that mood. You can literally change the mood of a photograph with lighting. So, lighting get to know it, study it, get educated.

Speaker 2:

I was stubborn when I first started photography and I thought I knew what I was doing, like all of us do when we first start, and I wasted a lot of time thinking that I could figure this out myself. And I eventually invested in some education, whether that had been from another photographer or somebody else in the industry, or just YouTube channels or studying photography, lighting books. So definitely get to know lighting. It's the most important piece of advice I can give you. Practice regularly and don't be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are crucial for learning and improving. Take criticism. Don't get mad when someone tells you where you can improve. I welcome criticism still to this day, like tell me what I can improve.

Speaker 2:

Make inspiration from other photographers, all different styles Like I'm still trying to learn different styles and between classic and contemporary or any type of different types of photography. Learn the different styles and get that inspiration from other photographers. Build a unique style by incorporating your perspective into your own work and, like I said, embrace constructive criticism. Always be open to learning and involving your skills. And just, lastly, enjoy the passion for photography. It's what will drive your growth and creativity in the long run. Yeah, I love that. And also one other piece of advice is I'm probably going to catch some flak for this, but I don't care. Editing with Photoshop, that's all you need. You don't need Lightroom. Lightroom actually stunted my growth. I'm not going to get into why it stunted my growth, but once I got away from Lightroom and specifically worked in Photoshop with Adobe Camera Raw, it really helped me a lot. So if you're not confident in Photoshop, I highly suggest getting some education under your belt to learn Photoshop.

Speaker 1:

You know it's so funny. One of the questions I was going to ask is do you have any like unpopular opinions or controversial opinions? And then I erased it. I should have kept it in. I like that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's one Added it in anyways, yeah, photoshop. I started using Photoshop in 2003, when my first child was born, and it is a very complicated I should say complex. It's very complex and has a nightmare of a learning curve, but, like I said, I'm still learning Photoshop to this day. There are things that I learned. There's so many different ways to edit in Photoshop and you'll find one that works for you, and then you can branch off from what you've learned and learn new things. There's so many different things, but eventually, once you've learned the basics of Photoshop, it's pretty easy.

Speaker 1:

So oh, and now we have AI in Photoshop to help, and I know a lot of photographers are scared of AI, and I'm not because of like photographers like you. You would understand if you were giving your clients an experience. Ai isn't going to do that, if you're just taking pictures. If you're just a button pusher, then yeah, maybe you feel threatened, but if you were giving clients an experience of feeling, then AI, you know, isn't going to impact you.

Speaker 2:

Correct, and I think AI is great. I actually use it in Photoshop. It's been a game changer for editing. It understands patterns, it understands shadows and highlights, so you don't have to go in and manually manipulate that stuff anymore. And it, you know, it's literally drawing a circle, like, say, there's a stain on a pattern shirt and you know, you and I both know we've got to go in with the clone stamp and try to make it look natural and then we've got to make sure that the shadows and highlights that were previously there are still the same. Ai can literally fix that for you in a matter of like 10 seconds. Yeah, so I use it to my advantage. It's a tool. I don't go crazy with it, unless I'm like putting my husband on a different planet or something, but yeah, I love AI. In fact, I was hoping years ago that they would come out with something like that, and then they finally did and I was like, yes, finally it's here. So I use it every day.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So what advice would you give a photographer who is ready to step into her next level self? Well, I'm not a new photographer, someone who's already more established, but she's like you know what I want bigger, I want to expand. What advice would you give her?

Speaker 2:

Well, the first thing I would say is congratulations on reaching that point. I would consider defining your style, reflecting on your body of work and identifying recurring themes or elements that define your style, which will help you create a cohesive and recognizable portfolio. So consistency is very important. In fact, I think consistency is probably one of the most important things when you're elevating. When somebody sees your photo, you want people to know who took that photo, and that's when you know that you're changing the game of your business, changing boundaries. Challenge yourself, explore new genres and techniques, step out of your comfort zone. Doing that leads to breakthroughs and innovative approaches to photography.

Speaker 2:

Investing in quality equipment when we all first started, we were just using the basics, just a camera and whatever we could afford at the time. When you're elevating, you've got to put money away for quality equipment. Consider upgrading your gear to match your evolving skills. Same goes for props and those investments like gowns and things like that. Lighting camera flashes and always, always, always, have a backup of everything Backup camera, backup flash, backup strobes. If you shoot sometimes with three strobes because you're trying to change the lighting, you've got to buy three more. You need six of them. I had three strobes go down in the wind once and they all shattered, but I had three more in my vehicle, same with camera. Like my husband has this saying three is two, two is one and one is none. So always have a backup of everything.

Speaker 1:

I'm kind of naughty on this one because my backup camera was my main camera. It's the D700 Nikon. That bad boy is like 10 years old and I am holding onto it like grim death Because it's Nikon's best camera and I love it. But it's just hard to let it go.

Speaker 2:

but it is my backup, so I have If it's your backup, then that's exactly what I do. This guy is, when it's time to retire a camera, that goes in the equipment storage room and sits on the shelf with my other backup cameras. I currently have three backup cameras right now. They all work fine. Yeah, I like to hang onto cameras. I'm a camera hoarder.

Speaker 1:

I love that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, let's see Building a strong portfolio, talking about consistency. Build a portfolio that showcases your best and most amazing work networking, networking and collaborating.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yes, people aren't doing this enough.

Speaker 2:

Connecting with fellow photographers, artists and professionals in the industry, Even if it's not photography related. I love to network with people, especially leaders in any industry. I want to sit down and I want to have a cup of coffee and talk about money. Yes, that's what I like to do.

Speaker 1:

I love talking about money.

Speaker 2:

You can also collaborate with people. Through networking, you can collaborate projects, you can bring fresh perspectives and open doors to new opportunities. That's one of the main reasons why I love to network is you get to meet new people. Through those people, you get to meet their network of people. It's just like this big snowball effect. Pretty soon you have this huge network and you become a recommendable photographer. It's super important Continuous learning.

Speaker 2:

Stay updated on industry trends. I know a lot of photographers who started with film who didn't stay updated on trends when we transitioned into digital, and those photographers hit the floor pretty hard. Some of them are still trying to catch up. But stay updated. Join photography groups, social media, like I said, networking with other photographers, because you can stay up to date on these trends. You don't want to get behind Once trends start happening, like the AI thing. That's a new trend. Learn the AI as an example.

Speaker 2:

Attend workshops, read photography books already went over that. Engage with online communities. Stay inspired. Stay informed. Lastly, set goals. Establish clear and achievable goals for your journey. I don't tell anybody what my goals are. I just make them and I smash them and then surprise everybody. Goals can be entering a competition or getting a new studio or new equipment, exhibiting your work somewhere, getting featured in a magazine, starting a photography project, Having goals provides direction and motivation, and motivation is super important because us photographers go through burnout. I just went through a massive burnout last month and I took three weeks off and did absolutely nothing, not even clean my house. I was protesting life. Also, remember that growth is a continuous process. It doesn't stop. Embrace the journey and enjoy the evolution in your craft.

Speaker 1:

I love that. That's great, thank you. You've been published and featured many times in your career. Every time, once a month, it seems like you're posting on Facebook about your latest features. I love it. Any tips you can share for professionals interested in being featured for their work in 2024?

Speaker 2:

Yes, I can. You're going to want to curate a strong portfolio. You're going to want to research and target. I cannot talk today.

Speaker 1:

We don't do perfect around here, so you're good.

Speaker 2:

I don't do perfect ever. I'm a total nerd, but that's okay. You want to research and target publications. You want to engage on social media. You want to put yourself out there. You want to network and collaborate. Like I said, that's super important. You want to submit pitches. You can do that. You want to stay consistent, participate in contests, build relationships with editors I have a publicist, so that's super important Building a relationship with editors because those editors know other editors.

Speaker 2:

Pretty soon, all these editors are talking about you. They want to do an article on you in a magazine like Vogue. I just got into Vogue. Basically, they offer you the article, you pay your publicist to write it up and bam, you're in a publication. It's not as hard as it seems. Some publications you have to pay for, but mainly when someone's reaching out to you for a publication, you shouldn't have to pay for a publication, but having a publicist helps. They can write the articles. A lot of people use AI now, but I would rather it be more genuine. So make sure that your publishing agencies are not using AI to write your articles, because you can tell.

Speaker 1:

Well, you can tell, you can tell we're not there yet. Yeah, yeah, definitely.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think that my publications really started taking off once I photographed a celebrity. I actually have photographed a few of them, but one of my biggest celebrities that I photographed was a athlete, and once you photograph an athlete you're going to always be in the media. It's crazy especially this athlete, because he's got a pretty big name. That really helps me get into more publications. And then I did some work for a director in the music industry and she has a lot of connections too. So it's really just kind of putting yourself out there and getting in front of the right people. I just say put yourself out there and network and get in front of the right people, and the publications will come.

Speaker 1:

And if you're listening to this and you struggle to put yourself out there, come see me, because that is my specialty helping photographers get seen and get paid, because a lot of photographers they have that problem. Put yourself out there and they're like, oh, I don't want to be seen, I want to hide, yeah.

Speaker 2:

I did that for a while. I hid behind my business and one of my friends pulled me out of that rut Like stop hiding behind your business, come out and play.

Speaker 1:

So did you ever deal with imposter syndrome or not feeling good enough, or what have you?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, every day. Yeah, yep, it's definitely a common challenge for me and I think it's a common challenge in any creative profession. Honestly, most of the creators I know deal with it. There's been moments where I've questioned my abilities or not felt good enough, but I think it's crucial to recognize these thoughts as a part of the creative journey and just counter them with positive affirmations and acknowledging past successes and seeking support from people who actually want to be there for you.

Speaker 2:

There's so many people that I call seeking support, that just want to talk about themselves, and I'm just you've got to find somebody who wants to invest in you wholly, and those people are hard to find. But once you do find that person, hang on to them because that person is amazing. Yeah, you also need to remember that growth involves facing challenges, and learning from those challenges helps navigate you through that imposter syndrome and eventually, over time, you'll build confidence. But I've definitely had issues with imposter syndrome quite a bit and it sucks. Yeah, it kind of makes you like wonder, like why, I don't know, I don't even know how to explain it. It's just a feeling that I get that I really can't describe, but once you feel it, it hits you hard.

Speaker 1:

Imposter syndrome is like who am I to be experiencing this, or if they find out who I really am. Yeah, imposter syndrome is really an identity issue. Yeah, and it's not just about expanding or growing or experiencing good things. It's trying to along with our nervous system, is trying to keep us safe. It's trying to keep us small, but you are on the right track in realizing that its voice isn't you. You know what I mean. A lot of people super identify with their thoughts and they think that they are their thoughts, which is a dangerous slippery slope. It's just imposter syndrome. It is not necessarily true. It isn't something I have to be afraid of, and then countering it with more positive affirmations is definitely the right way to go.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I have found that affirmations and manifesting there it works so well together too.

Speaker 1:

I didn't know you were into manifesting. We need to do an episode on that.

Speaker 2:

I love manifesting. I manifested my whole career, from the time that I was like five years old, so yes, we need to talk about that, yeah.

Speaker 1:

I haven't really talked about it a lot on the podcast. But I've been studying it for just four years but I've been pretty deep, pretty deep, and I've taken a ton of courses and, and you know, even thought about doing a manifesting podcast, but I don't know what I'm going to be doing with that. But, yeah, I'd love to talk more with you about that because yeah, definitely.

Speaker 2:

I'm willing to share some of my insight on that Very cool, that's cool.

Speaker 1:

I was going to ask earlier because you you were leaning somewhere with an earlier question. I was like you mean you manifested it because it really sounded like you're going in that direction. Yeah, I did?

Speaker 2:

I manifested my career. I my dad gifted me a 110 camera when I was about five. I had two of them. I had a Lion King one and I had a Where's Waldo and I used to set up blankets and I pin them up to the bunk bed and I would do photo shoots of my sister at like five years old.

Speaker 1:

Oh.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, and I used to cut out models out of catalogs and I would like set up like this area that looks like, you know, like Beverly Hills oh look, yeah, you're in LA. Yeah, and I would photograph, I'd pretend I was photographing the models out of JC Penney catalogs. That's what I did for fun when I was a kid and then I took photography in high school and I failed it Me too. Yeah, see, like, and I know why we, I know why you and I failed it. You don't even have to tell me why. I already know, because we wanted to do our own thing, we didn't want to follow the assignments.

Speaker 1:

Well, I was forced to drop out because I dropped my first assignment and my camera opened.

Speaker 2:

But I always wanted to send him my business card and be like yeah look at me so so I failed because I wanted to create my own, my own perspectives, and I had to stick to the assignments that I didn't want to like I was doing my own thing, so he failed me. And then I saw him later on, about five years into my career, and he actually asked me to come out to speak to his students. Oh, and he said if I could change your grade now, I would.

Speaker 1:

Oh, look at that, I know.

Speaker 2:

So I failed that. And then after high school, I went into the police academy and I was being sponsored through the sheriff's department here. And I was at home one day cleaning the house and at that time I had a one year old and a ad came on the radio to capture somebody in the bathroom using too much toilet paper. So Charmin had put on this contest that whoever's in the act of using too much toilet paper, they're going to have a winner for it, and the winner gets a $5,000 Home Depot bathroom makeover. Well, I said, well, that's easy, I'm going to win this. And I did. And instead of the bathroom makeover because I was living in a rental at the time, I was so young, I was living in a little duplex and they just cut me a $5,000 check and that's what I used. Well, I bought my equipment with the check. I bought my first camera and I bought some studio lights and I paid off my couch because I had finance.

Speaker 2:

I wasn't, I wasn't going to actually go into photography, but I didn't think. I knew in my heart that that's what I loved. But I didn't think that that was what I was going to do. I was just finishing up the police academy and my dad pulled out those pictures of my sister that I took in front of that blanket on the bug bed and he said, janessa, this is what you're meant to do right here. Oh, and you need to really think about this. And I went home and I thought about it and, sure enough, I made the decision and I quit the sheriff's department. And here we are, love it.

Speaker 1:

Here we are. I love that you have such a nice like photography story.

Speaker 2:

It's definitely interesting and the picture the Charmin picture, is absolutely hilarious. There's toilet paper everywhere. There's the kittens got toilet paper wrapped around its tail. There's a sippy cup. And she was only a year old and to this day she still asks me where's my money? Where's my 5K? She's 20 now. I was 19 years ago.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, I that's kids for you, yep.

Speaker 2:

She's like well, I was the model, so I'm kind of entitled. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Maybe one day.

Speaker 2:

With inflation, I'm probably going to owe her more. Yeah, oh.

Speaker 1:

God, yeah, definitely. So where do you see your business a year or two from now? What's your vision? You know, I noticed I didn't ask for your goal, but vision is okay, right.

Speaker 2:

So, um, I can't predict the future, but I envision my business growing, growing and evolving over the next year or two. I plan to refine my style, explore new opportunities for collaboration. I plan to expand my reach through different channels and maybe, if more technologies come out, I'll incorporate emerging those into my business. I'm always prepared for that. Mentally, I plan to kind of study and keep up on the trends in photography.

Speaker 1:

Um, I think you do good on Tik Tok. Thank you, yeah, I think you would do good on there, I also want to start a merchandise line like a name.

Speaker 2:

No, like I cannot talk today. Name brand like merchandising line. That's one of my goals. Um, I really would like to get a seamstress to start creating my own gowns for my maternity clients, my own designs.

Speaker 1:

That's a good idea.

Speaker 2:

And just keep it. You know, in-house Exclusive.

Speaker 1:

Exclusive.

Speaker 2:

Yep Exclusive gowns to my clients. I do paint my own backdrops. I kind of took a break from that because it takes up a lot of my time, but I plan to get back into that and hopefully maybe just selling some of those backdrops that I plan on retiring. There was something else I wanted to do too. What was it? I don't know. Maybe I'm not meant to say what it is.

Speaker 1:

You don't come to your way as soon as we're done.

Speaker 2:

Right.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. So what are you most proud of in your business? Um?

Speaker 2:

over the 18 years of my photography career. The growth I've experienced stands out as a source of immense pride for me. I've overcome a lot of obstacles. There's been many tears shed, a lot Like there. I took a two-year break one time because I was done with it. I didn't want to come back. I was just struggling so bad with so many things, personally and business-wise.

Speaker 2:

Um so me overcoming those obstacles and hurdles has been a crucial part of my journey, and the fact that I've learned to adapt and refine my skills and navigate through those ever-changing landscapes of the industry. I'm proud to say that I've overcome a lot. I didn't give up. I'm going to cry Hello. It's been a journey and I'm proud of myself that I've been able to get through some of the shit that I've gotten through. And also one of the most fulfilling aspects is witnessing the positive impact my work has had on my clients. Knowing that my photographs have become cherished memories and have the power to evoke emotions is a testament to the dedication that I've put into my craft and that makes me super proud. And staying resilient in this industry, which can be a complete dumpster fire sometimes Pretty sure everybody knows about that. But looking ahead, I'm excited about the continued growth and reopening my studio and learning new things and experiencing new challenges that will shape the next chapters of my photography career.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I love that. That was such a good answer. Thank you.

Speaker 2:

So is there anything else that you want to share or yes, I just wanted to say how grateful I am for you and thank you for having me. It was a complete pleasure and I look forward to meeting you and I'm excited. I'm really excited.

Speaker 1:

So where can listeners find you online?

Speaker 2:

Instagram, facebook, linkedin my website can Google me, and you can Google my name and all my articles will pop up as well. So if anybody wants to read my articles, just Google Janessa Tabor or Visions by Janessa and I'm Visions by Janessa on Facebook and Instagram, and then LinkedIn is obviously just my first and last name.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, before we end, how are you finding LinkedIn, because I've like perks of interest in me. I've ignored it for so long. Are you finding it like a good place for photographers to be?

Speaker 2:

I do. Actually, if I need some help with something or advice or if I need to hire somebody that's of quality on LinkedIn is a great resource to find those types of people and I mainly use it for job offerings. So if I need a receptionist or even an editor, and there's a lot of creative people on LinkedIn. So once you put that job offering up, people will actually see it Like I had like a thousand inquiries for reception position and I'm getting ready to hire again. I unfortunately had to lay off all my employees during this whole studio mess and I've got to rehire some people, so I'll be using LinkedIn for that. Linkedin is great for networking, so I recommend LinkedIn. I think they're a pretty good platform for business people, like-minded business people.

Speaker 1:

Okay, good, yeah, I need a VA, a virtual assistant, coming up next. So I'll check that out for sure, yeah for sure, all right. So well. Thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate your time and you know, putting up with my microphone issues in the beginning. Oh, you're fine, we will connect soon and thank you again for being here and I look forward to airing this episode.

Speaker 2:

Yay, all right. Well, thanks for having me, and I will see you in April.

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Personalized and Professional Photography Services
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Advice for Advancing in Photography
Featured Tips, Dealing With Imposter Syndrome
Photography Journey and Business Growth
Looking for a Virtual Assistant