Restaurateurs...The heroes we didn't know we needed.

community Mar 27, 2020

By: Ashley Diamond Siegert 

One of the fastest growing communities in Texas, Bryan/ College Station is home to a wide range of independently owned restaurants ranging from farm-to-table, to artsy cafes to fine dining. Like every restaurateur across the country and many around the world, each of these entrepreneurs has had to pivot on a dime in an effort to keep their doors open, staff employed, and their communities fed. 

As I drove from one establishment to the next, these people, my friends, people I had photographed partying at a charity gala a mere 3 weeks earlier with 500 other people... were exhausted... but refused to be defeated. 
Each of these owners, now forced to close their dining rooms, unable to allow guests into the beautifully curated gathering spaces behind them, has had to find a new footing, with no warning and no road map. Clinging to their dreams, they are doing what they do best, problem solving. 
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Stop it!

Yesterday I saw a thread in a facebook group, made up mostly of female photographers.

The poster was struggling because her husband had taken a salaried job and therefore he never knew exactly what time he would be home from work, as he was no longer hourly, so she was struggling to schedule portrait sessions around her inconsistent evening childcare situation. 

I then read through the comments. There were 45 of them. The overwhelming majority of the responders had some version of this "advice." "Sorry. Thats just how it is to be salaried. He is the bread winner."

I was quite taken aback. 

Here we have a woman, a mom, who loves what she does, owns a real business, and is looking for a solution, and we as her community are encouraging her to take a back seat and just "deal with it."

I try not to preach, rather to just live out my thoughts and feelings regarding woman empowerment, but this one got me riled up, y'all. 

This is why the majority of women owned...

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Do I REALLY have to learn ALL of the digital marketing "stuff" for my photography business to work?

Hey girl,

Ok, so you have your photography business up and running and you are thinking... I just need clients.  Ok, no problem. Marketing.... marketing.... what am I supposed to do for marketing? 

So you look at all of the facebook groups and you start to see that there is this big mountain of a job ahead of you. Website optimization, facebook ads, google ads, blogging, social media...

"Omg, I just want to take pictures and make some extra money for my family. Now I have to become a master of the internet too?" 

Well, the answer to that is... yes and no. 

The reality is that there are thousands of strategies now for driving traffic to your business, and they all have merit in some way, but at the end of the day you only need to capture people from 2 places:

1. The search (Google) and

2. The scroll (social media)

And those 2 strategies need to be designed (simply) to begin a conversation with the right kind of person for your business. Once you have...

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Ideas for holiday promotions

Hey there PhotoBoss!

So the holiday season is right up on us and if you are like 90% of other photographers, you are wondering if you should have already come up with some holiday promotions, or how to market them effectively. 

Here are my thoughts on holiday promotions, if I may.

1. Discount is a 4 letter word. 

The thing about discounting straight out (Book NOW for 20% off!!) is that it plants a seed in the client's mind that your work is not worth a premium price, and that you are open to changing your prices. There are ways to offer holiday urgency without subconsciously devaluing your work.  Such as...

2. Use this as an opportunity to offer limited edition sessions.

Holiday sets? Exclusive Locations? What can you do to create something they can't get somewhere else and only run it for a short window. 

I am personally not a big fan of mini sessions, but if priced right, this is a great time to offer something new and different. If you are going to do...

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Your Business Plan Is Home Base

Hey there, super awesome photographer. 

I know, the phrase "business plan" is not your favorite. 

It might as well be 4 letters, right? When I asked my facebook group what the phrase "business plan" made them feel, I got the following responses: (I actually copied and pasted these from the thread)

*Cold sweats

*I draw a major blank!

*Uhhh panic attack?

*My whole body tightens and I clench my teeth...heart palpitations, headache...

*I feel my eyes glaze over.

YOU GUYS! I get it. I really do. It is just another project, right? AS IF you don't have enough of those in your business.

And it doesn't even seem like a fun one. And who even needs a business plan if they are not pitching investors right? We are one-(wo)man shows, who are we trying to impress with some formal document? 

But I am going to let you in on a little secret.  

Creating a business plan is the secret key to EVERYTHING. It is your home base, your compass, your road map. ...

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Is getting a mentor the right step?

Many of you have heard me talk about the old school apprentice model, where artists studied for years under an experienced photographer, or commission painter before ever daring to strike out on their own. 

These years provided the opportunity to see behind the curtain and learn both what to do, and more importantly what NOT to do. This saved lots of wasted time and effort on the student's part. It also saved many people from quitting or venturing out into full time practice altogether, because they determined that it was, or was not, the life they really wanted to pursue. 

With the digital revolution came a lower barrier to entry and BOOM...photographers everywhere! No longer was it a requirement to spend years under the tutelage of a studio owner in order to start a photography business. 

But with this change, we as an industry lost the expectation that we as artists/business owners should find someone to show us the ropes. We are having to make the expensive...

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Steps to freedom contributing to the household with your photo business

Hey there, super awesome photographer. 

Recently, I have gotten on the phone with many of you to discuss what you are struggling with in your business. (I am always looking to chat some more so click here to schedule a call with me. The more I talk to photographers, unpacking your roadblocks, the more I can help.)

So what have I uncovered in this research is that most photographers in the current market are looking to add $1k-$3k to the household bottom line. This total would allow them to do things like: take a vacation, eat out a bit more, take some pressure off the spouse, quit another part time or full time job and come home with the kids.

Freedom. This money represents a step to freedom. 

What does that mean? What would it take?

Well, this is where I see a lot of photographers hit a wall.

They want this extra income but they don't know what it means to make it happen. 

Let me break it down for you here a bit. 

Say your goal is to bring home...

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